CONSANGUINITY AND TERROR
The dangers of consanguinity (blood relations) have been known since ancient times. In both Republican and Imperial Rome, civil law prohibited marriages between couples of four degrees of consanguinity (or less). Couples who shared the same great grandparents were forbidden to marry.
Mediaeval Christendom raised the degree of separation even higher, to seven, until eventually forced to lower it back to the Roman levels. Because Charlemagne had created only 350 counties in all of Western Europe - and a mere 350 noble families to rule them - Mediaeval aristocrats eventually ran out of permissible marriage partners. The situation was far worse with the royals: dynastic politics were marriage politics, and for that reason inbreeding was all but inevitable.
The effects were disastrous. By the mid-1800's, a significant number of European royals were sickly, physically deformed, insane, or stupid. Had World War I not swept away most of Europe's monarchies, the genetic time bomb planted by Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, would have destroyed them anyway: Victoria and Albert had nine children together, all of whom inherited a grave genetic disorder, believed to be hemophilia. One became King of Great Britain; seven married into other dynasties. Their children would have doubtless married into all.
And yet, the appeal of consanguinity is so strong than many cultures overlook the well-known dangers of inbreeding. Consanguinity makes it possible to keep a tight hold on wealth, property, and in some cases, political power. In ancient Egypt, for example, royal siblings frequently married to maintain political control, despite full knowledge that their incestuous relationship would eventually lead to their family's extinction.
In the contemporary world, the handful of surviving Royal houses have abandoned consanguinity, and Royal offspring now routinely wed lesser aristocrats or commoners. But among the tribal societies of North Africa, the Middle East, and Pakistan, consanguinity is the norm: an estimated 34 per cent of all marriages in Algeria are consanguine; 46 per cent in Bahrain; 33 per cent in Egypt; 39 per cent in Tunisia; 60 per cent in Iraq; 64 per cent in Jordan; 54 per cent in Qatar; 67 per cent in Saudi Arabia; 40 per cent in Syria; 39 per cent in Tunisia; 54 per cent in the United Arab Emirates; 45 per cent in Yemen, and 70 per cent in Pakistan. Overall, about half the world's Muslim population is inbred.
Consanguinity has been a part of Muslim culture since Mohammed gave inbreeding his blessing some 1400 years ago, and the results have been horrific. According to Danish psychologist Nicolai Sennels, the genetic damage caused by Muslim inbreeding has produced lower average intelligence, a higher incidence of physical defects, and a higher incidence of mental illness.
According to Sennels, children born to consanguinious marriages have an IQ 10-16 points lower than normal, are slow to develop social skills, and are twice as likely to have mental or physical disabilities. "It probably explains...why two-thirds of all immigrant school children with Arabic backgrounds [remain] illiterate after 10 years in the Danish school system."
No surprise, then, that they grow up to be unemployed, and unemployable. Nor is it a surprise that severe mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia occur at much higher rates among Muslims than among non-Muslims.
Sennels also believes that Muslim inbreeding may explain why the Islamic world produces so little in terms of science: "The limited ability to understand, appreciate, and produce knowledge [that follows from a limited IQ] is also partly the reason why Muslim countries produce 1/10th of the world average when it comes to scientific research.."
But on the bright side, Muslims are the undisputed champions when it comes to producing rapists, suicide bombers and psychotic killers.
IN EUROPE: A SLOW MOTION COLLAPSE
The great meta-historian Oswald Spengler published his majestic tome in Germany in 1918, under a title which most correctly translates as The Submergence of the West. When it was published in English four years later, it was incorrectly translated as The Decline of the West.
One word made all the difference: Spengler's point was not so much that the West was in decline - although that was certainly true - but rather that the West would inevitably be submerged by the sheer weight of the other, non-white, non-European peoples.
Many Europeans grasped the threat, including Adolf Hitler - who, with his inimitable brutality, decided to deal with it by exterminating all non-whites and by enslaving the Slavs and other, lesser Caucasians.
The Allied victory in 1945 precluded Hitler's plans, and the European Elite which succeeded him embraced a different solution: rather than slaughter the allegedly inferior breeds, they would create a new global order and a new and inclusive global culture incorporating what they deemed to be the "Best of the West, Along with the Rest." "Multiculturalism" and "Diversity" became their watchwords.
As Alan Greenspan once implied, their New World Order was to be built on the bedrock belief that humanity's one common denominator, true of all peoples at all times and all places, is the desire to improve one's material circumstances. The peoples of the world would gladly embrace the new regime, because it would provide them with the opportunity to acquire and enjoy "more stuff."
It was for this reason that Europe's leaders - and also the leaders of Britain and America - gleefully welcomed millions of Muslim immigrants into their countries, despite the fact that the newcomers had all been raised in cultures instinctively hostile to the beliefs and values the West had been founded upon, and despite the fact that many of them - perhaps most of them - were fervently committed to an alien and militantly aggressive faith.
It hasn't worked out. And now the European leadership - and the British and the American, to a lesser extent - find themselves caught between the blades of a scissors. One blade consists of the Elite's belief system, which implausibly denies the importance of culture and faith while simultaneously insisting upon the absurd claim of cultural equivalence; the other blade militant Islam, which insists, irrationally and despite all evidence to the contrary, that Islamic culture is inherently superior and, must, therefore rule all the world.
Unwilling to admit they were wrong and unable to adapt, the European Elite is floundering and the British and American elites are not far behind. Simply put, their own policies have brought about a situation very much like Spengler predicted. They are being submerged, and they haven't the slightest idea what to do about it.
For an appalling overview of their fumbling response, please click on the link below:
ISLAMIC TERRORISM, SHARIA PATROLS
LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND DELUSIONS
It is a sad testament to our world that statesmen must lie. Abraham Lincoln dissimulated when he said the North wouldn’t negotiate with the South during the Civil War; FDR perpetrated innumerable lies to maneuver the United States into World War II; Eisenhower lied over the U-2 incident; JFK lied about the impending invasion of Cuba; and even Ronald Reagan may have shaded the truth a bit during the arms for hostages scandal.
But there are the lies of statesmen, and there are the damned lies of politicians. The lies of statesmen are intended to protect the nations for which they are responsible; the damnable lies of politicians are intended to advance their careers or their agendas. Here, Barack Obama stands as an exemplar. Candidate Obama lied repeatedly during the 2008 campaign for the White House, claiming he was unaware of Rev. Wrights open hostility and contempt for both whites and the United States, despite the fact Obama had previously identified Wright as a mentor; and as President, he piled lie upon lie while campaigning for his Affordable Care Act. He claimed those already insured could keep their doctors and their insurance plans under the ACA, and he claimed it would lower premiums. Neither claim was true, and he knew it.
Far worse is his stubborn refusal to admit the obvious link between Islam and terrorism. He insists the terrorist attack at Ft. Hood - and each of the half-dozen or so bloody incidents perpetrated by Islamic extremists that followed - are merely “workplace violence;” that the attack on a kosher market in France was random; that the ISIS now terrorizing the Levant and threatening Europe isn’t Islamic; and the Christians recently beheaded by the ISIS in Libya weren’t killed for their religious faith. As former CBS investigative reporter Cheryl Atkinson observed, Obama lies, then denies he lied, and then lies about the lies he’s told.
This is more than a character flaw. The great danger of what the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre called “bad faith” is that the liar not only deceives others but himself as well, and “divorces further and further from reality, so he sees less and less clearly the choices before him and what is at stake…”
Eventually, the liar is no longer able to distinguish between his lies and reality, and slips into a delusional state.
Given the fact that President Obama is responsible for the safety and well-being of more than 300,000,000 Americans, his willful denial of obvious truths is worrisome indeed.
STRAIGHT TALK FROM AN ARAB CROWN PRINCE
President Obama's unstated strategy for defeating the Islamic State is simple: contain the IS with air power and provide neighboring countries with what assistance they may require to grind it down, with the eventual goal of reducing the presently severe threat to a police problem.
Because this strategy depends heavily upon the support of what the White House describes as "moderate" Muslims, the President has gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid associating Islamic terror with Islam. As a result, the President and his staff have repeatedly tied themselves into the verbal equivalent of pretzels, in their efforts to dance around obvious facts. The giggle factor has become so pronounced that in many circles the President is now seen as a fool.
His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Salman - himself a Muslim - has offered a better, more sophisticated and far more useful definition of the threat, which President Obama would be well-advised to adopt as his own: the problem, Prince Salman argues, isn't Islam, per se, but rather the crazed and power-hungry theocrats who have exploited and degraded Islamic teachings to justify a new form of totalitarianism, Theocratic Fascism.
Unlike President Obama, Prince Salman doesn't deny the Islamic connection. He has instead placed it in framework that is historically and ideologically plausible.
Westerners familiar with history instinctively grasp the Prince's point: Savonarola in Mediaeval Italy comes immediately to mind, as does Oliver Cromwell in England and John Calvin in Geneva. It was Calvin, of course, who planted the seeds of modern totalitarianism with his vow to "force men to be free" (even if it killed them).
To read Prince Salman's insightful essay in full, please click on the link below:
KNOW THINE ENEMY
THE PARIS MASSACRE
At 11:30 am on January 7th, two masked and heavily armed Muslims forced their way into the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical French newspaper. After finding the staff in an editorial conference, they sorted them by name before systematically executing the paper’s editor, Stephane Charbonnier, his police bodyguard, and nine other staff members. In the process, 11 others were wounded. Five minutes after the attack began, the two killers exited the building to a waiting car driven by an accomplice. En route to the vehicle they opened fire on a police car, briefly halting their escape to execute a wounded police officer lying helpless on the sidewalk. Ironically, the murdered policeman was himself Muslim.
The attack was intended to exact vengeance against the newspaper, which takes pride in its reputation as an equal opportunity offender. In addition to savagely humorous attacks on politicians and celebrities, it has in recent years it has skewered Christianity, Judaism and Islam – and given Muslims special offense by republishing an inflammatory Dutch cartoon of Mohammed in 2006, and more recently by publishing an edition that was, supposedly, guest-edited by the Prophet himself. In retaliation for the latter offense, the Charlie Hebdo building was firebombed and Charbonnier subjected to anonymous death threats.
Although the driver of the escape car promptly surrendered to police, it took three days and the largest police manhunt in French history to locate and kill the two brothers who had carried out the attack. In the meantime, another Muslim extremist associated with the Islamic State assassinated a policewoman before carrying out a diversionary attack against a kosher grocery store, killing four hostages. His accomplice, a female convert to Islam, escaped and is still at large at this writing. Altogether, 17 French police and civilians were killed.
Three aspects of the attack are notable. The first provides important background; the second and third will compel action.
First, it illustrates the extreme sensitivity of Muslims to any characterization of Islam, Mohammed, or other revered figures in less than devout terms. Freedom of speech and expression are alien to Islamic societies, heirs to or practitioners of Sharia law. In Pakistan, the legal code considers blasphemy a capital crime, and vigilantes routinely kill those accused of slandering Islam; in Israel, Muslims rioted in response to a Jewish artist’s derogatory depiction of the Virgin Mary; and in Saudi Arabia, a man has been sentenced to 1000 lashes and ten years imprisonment for “insulting” Islam on the Internet.
Second, it seems to confirm dark fears of a spillover from the fighting in the Middle East. Thousands of European Muslims have left their countries to fight for Al Qaeda, its various offshoots, or the Islamic State, and European police and security services have long feared they would eventually return to wage war against their countries of birth or naturalization. Both of the Paris gunmen received training from an Al Qaeda affiliate, and for that reason the attack on Charlie Hebdo may signal a new and bloody phase in the Islamic campaign against Europe.
Third, it has brought to the fore the previously suppressed conflict over Muslim immigration and assimilation. Although the European elites are as deeply committed to using massive and essentially unrestricted immigration to dilute national identities as their American counterparts, the European peoples have never accepted their vision of a New World Order in which nation-states are reduced to administrative zones of a global, Socialist Commonwealth. Nor have they accepted the Elite’s obviously false claim that Islam and Western Civilization are somehow compatible. Absent a revolution within Islam as thorough, complete, and as bloody as the European Reformation, there is no realistic possibility of Muslims assimilating to the West. The Islamic understanding of God is fundamentally different from either the Christian or the Jewish, and the body of law that has grown up around Islamic scriptures can be charitably described as Mediaeval. Many analysts regard Islam as a form of institutionalized insanity.
Through a determined effort, the European elites have managed to suppress public sentiment for decades. But the Paris massacre has changed the political equation. In Paris, an estimated 100,000 took to the streets to protest the atrocity, and the once marginalized anti-immigrant National Front party is surging in the polls. Across the Channel, the similarly oriented United Kingdom Independence Party is likewise emerging as a major political force. If elections were held today, the UKIP would almost certainly be able to demand cabinet seats in a coalition government.
The Paris massacre thus marks the end of an era, the death of an Elitist dream. Europe may remain united in the loose confederation that is the European Union, but it will not be the secular, non-national, multicultural Utopia the Elites aspired to.
THE NEXT PHASE
In an effort to win re-election, President Obama made a subtle but nonetheless determined effort to promote the illusion that the War on Terror had been effectively won. It wasn’t true, but the lull in terrorist attacks that followed the killing of Osama bin Laden gave the President’s claims the brief appearance of truth.
In actual fact, Islamic extremism was in the process of morphing into a far more serious threat. The Al Qaeda terrorist organization that carried out the 9-11 attacks against New York and Washington was in the process of re-organizing to support a new strategy built around small scale “lone wolf” assaults, while in eastern Syria the ISIL offshoot was preparing a quasi-conventional ground offensive intended to expand its territorial control deep into Iraq.
The Obama Administration maintains that the US intelligence community dropped the ball and failed to properly assess the momentarily quiescent but growing threats; the intelligence community maintains the Administration ignored their warnings for political purposes. Regardless of the actual truth, it was not until the ISIL – since renamed the Islamic State, or IS – stormed out of eastern Syria to rout the American trained and equipped Iraqi Army that Official Washington took public notice. Since then, the Administration’s strategy has been to contain the IS in Iraq while building up regional capabilities to deal with the threat. The long-term objective is to provide local forces with the wherewithal to grind the IS down to the point where it becomes a police and intelligence problem rather than a military threat.
Although the strategy is sound, in so far as it goes, it fails to take into account the long-term strategies of either Al Qaeda or the IS. Their shared goal is to shatter European societies by fomenting an Islamic insurrection throughout the Continent – and, to the extent possible, to distract the United States by staging or encouraging terrorist attacks on the American homeland.
Central to the IS/Al Qaeda strategies is a social phenomenon that arose with the Internet. In past generations, spies, saboteurs, and terrorists had to be carefully identified, recruited, nurtured and trained by professionals. But the Internet has changed all that. The current generation of spies, saboteurs and terrorists are most often self-selected and self-directed. All an intelligence service or terrorist organization need do is provide encouragement and basic instruction on the Internet, and make training facilities available for the “walk-ins” who appear at their installations or camps. After that, they can create their own support networks and obtain weapons and explosives without further assistance.
Although Al Qaeda is reportedly is still committed to staging spectacular attacks when practical, self-selected/self-directed Islamic terrorists with minimal training now pose the greatest threat to Europe and – probably – the United States as well.
WHEN ELITES FAIL
Elites are a self-defined statistical phenomenon. They are the few that rule the many – and they conform, more or less closely, to Pareto’s 80/20 Rule.
The best way to understand the phenomenon of elites is to imagine a typical high school with 1000 students. Of these 1000 students, approximately 500 will be male. And of these 500 young men, about 20 percent will have the skills and attributes required to play high school football. Of these 100, about 20 percent will have the skills and attributes required to play college ball, and about 20 percent of these will have the skills and attributes required to play in the NFL. Of these 4, about 20 percent will have the skills and attributes required to be NFL superstars. It is this 8/10ths of one percent that make up the football elite.
The same pattern repeats itself in every field of human endeavor, including political leadership. Barring the occasional fluke of history, those who rise to the top of their political systems are the best of the best. But they remain human, and for that reason they are prone to folly. They blunder at fair intervals, and when they do the consequences are often severe.
The present European Elite is no exception. It arose from the ashes of World War Two, deeply committed to preventing another such tragedy. Their unstated motto was “Never again.”
Their goal was to weave the world together in such a way that war would become impossible. The United Nations would provide a global political framework; regional free trade would lead to Europe’s economic and financial integration; prosperity would undercut the appeal of nationalism; and essentially unrestricted immigration from the Third World would change the tribal nature of European societies. The day would come when the French, the Germans and others would come to see themselves as Europeans first – and then, eventually, as citizens of the world. Across the Channel and the Atlantic, the victorious Anglo-American Elite adopted parallel policies – the Brits, by partially integrating with Europe and by deliberately changing the color and composition of their society through massive and sustained Third World immigration; the Americans, by doing the same while forging a de facto North American Super State through free trade with Mexico and Canada.
But as the Paris Massacre has forcefully revealed, the post-war dream of peace through economic integration hasn’t worked. Based on the false premise that humanity’s economic instincts would inevitably prevail over cultural, religious, nationalist, ethnic and tribal conflicts, “Diversity” and “Multiculturalism” have created new problems without resolving the old, and massive and essentially unrestricted immigration – especially Muslim immigration – has created dangerous Fifth Columns in both Europe and North America.
Thus the question, what next?
When elites in formally democratic societies fail, one of three things happens: they recognize their failure and change course, thereby preserving their power and prestige; they recognize their failure, but publicly deny it and try to muddle through with a minor tweak here and another there, losing prestige but preserving their power; or they recognize their failure but, for whatever reason, refuse to either acknowledge or act upon it. In the first case, names and faces change, but the Elite remains; in the second, the crisis is pushed down the road and the Elite retains a tentative grip on power; and in the third, it is swept away by revolution – peaceful, or otherwise.
The Western Elites –including the British and the American – thus face a dilemma. Their policy of Global Integration has failed miserably, but they have invested so much political and ideological capital that they cannot publicly admit it. The most likely outcome, then, is that the Western Elites will cling to their failed policies, reassuring their publics that a bit more security will solve the problem. It won’t, and for that reason they’ll eventually be swept away by the grassroots rebels of the National Front, the UKIP and other similar parties elsewhere.
THE RELIGION OF PEACE
The Australian government’s move to tighten anti-terrorist legislation in response to the Sydney hostage siege last September has provoked outraged protests from Muslim clerics, who maintain the proposed ban on incitement to violence violates their religious rights. According to Grand Mufti of Australia Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, and the National Imams Council, the proposal to criminalize “advocating terrorism” will expose Muslim clergy to arrest and prosecution for merely citing the Quran. Apparently, they are especially concerned about three passages from their scriptures:
Quran (2:191:193) And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from wherever they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah (disbelief, or rejection of Islam) is worse than killing…
Quran (8:12) I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them...
Quran (9:5) So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them…
The problem is the Quran not only sanctions violence under specified circumstances, but commands the faithful to engage in bloodshed. To criminalize terrorism is therefore to criminalize the Quran, and the practice of Islam.
Because Islam asserts the Quran is literally the word of God, prescriptions found therein supersede the laws of man – and for that reason, it necessarily follows that Muslims are exempt from worldly laws contrary to their faith. Simply put, they believe that God has granted them a special license to kill infidels, apostates, pagans, Christians, Jews and – indeed – other Muslims who violate their interpretation of Islam.
BUT THEY’RE NOT ALL CRAZY
As Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi recently demonstrated, some Muslims realize the Islamic World is tearing itself apart. Speaking to a clerical audience at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University – the world’s most influential center of Muslim thought – Sissi told the visibly shocked scholars that the Islamic World was in need of a “religious revolution.” And like many Western experts, Sissi attributed that less to the Quran – which can be rationalized, like the Bible – than to the body of literalist interpretations and laws that have grown up around it over the past 14 centuries.
Placing the blame for the Islam’s chaotic violence squarely on accepted dogma, Sissi called for a complete rethinking of “that corpus of texts and ideas we have [enshrined] over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible…
“I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution [because our Islamic World] is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost – and it is being lost by our own hands.”
WHAT DO MUSLIMS REALLY BELIEVE?
There are two major branches, dozens of sects, and more than a billion Muslims. Figuring out what they really believe is tough...
Measuring What Muslims Really Believe
THE MUSLIM DEBATE
Mounting Islamic terrorism has forced Muslims to take a hard look at themselves, and their faith. Many don't like what they see...
Violence Fuels a Muslim Debate
RULE BY DECREE
On Thursday, November 20th, President Barack Obama carried out his threat to impose by executive order a limited amnesty for approximately 5,000,000 illegal aliens. But given the fact that the White House has ordered the purchase of more than 30,000,000 blank identification documents for presently illegal immigrants, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that his initial, limited amnesty is intended to set the stage for a much larger one downstream.
The President's decision ignited immediate controversy among legal scholars, who are divided as to whether the president has the authority to impose de facto legislation, and on Capitol Hill, where the recently victorious Republicans cried foul but nonetheless adjourned without taking action to block the amnesty.
At the heart of the controversy are two contentious questions, one concerning the extent of "Prosecutorial Discretion" and the other concerning the nature of executive orders.
Prosecutorial Discretion is an ancient doctrine deeply rooted in the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition. Reduced to bare essentials, it asserts that the sovereign may exercise discretion in the prosecution of crimes. The point is practical: if, for example, 1000 people engage in riot, it makes more sense to prosecute the ringleaders than the rank and file rioters. But the practice invites abuse through selective prosecutions: if, for example, two individuals commit the same crime, and the one who is a friend of the king is not prosecuted, while the other, who is not a friend, is prosecuted, that would be selective prosecution - an unjust abuse of power, and a hallmark of tyranny.
By extending a sweeping version of Prosecutorial Discretion to millions of illegal aliens through his executive-ordered amnesty, the President has arguably overturned existing law and usurped the law-making function of the Congress.
The other issue is the proper role and extent of Executive Orders within the Constitutional system. Executive orders have long been understood as presidential directives crafted to instruct federal officials and workers as to how they are expected to implement existing laws. As such, executive orders carry the force of laws, but are not, in themselves, laws. President Obama's executive-ordered amnesty goes far beyond any traditional understanding of executive orders and, again, seems intended to usurp the law-making prerogatives of Congress.
According to Mr. Obama, his action was made necessary - and justified - by the failure of the Congress to pass immigration reform legislation. But that argument is disingenuous at best: the illegal immigrant crisis didn't just happen - it was willfully and deliberately created by successive administrations which refused to secure the border and enforce existing immigration laws. And while Obama is the most recent offender, he is arguably not the worst: his predecessor, George W. Bush, opposed almost every effort to secure the border and stem the tide of illegal immigration and, indeed, threatened to veto a $40 billion homeland security bill because it contained too much money for border security.
The unfortunate truth is the illegal immigration/border security crisis was deliberately manufactured in response to intense pressure from the Financial Elite. That Elite abandoned the concept of the nation-state in the 1930's, and has pressed for a new form of global organization ever since. Their goal is to establish a world-wide "Free Trade Regime" in which nation-states are reduced to administrative units and capital, goods, and - inevitably - labor are permitted to cross borders without hindrance, in response to supply and demand.
The fact that the American people are strongly opposed to the Elite's policy of open and undefended borders is of no matter; they abandoned democracy along with the nation-state back in the 1930's. As David Rockefeller is alleged to have once said, "Dictators are easier to work with."
Whether the Republicans will rein in President Obama after they assume control of both houses of Congress in January remains to be seen. But there are hopeful signs abroad: British political developments tend to precede those in the United States by five years or so, and in that country a political revolution led by the upstart United Kingdom Independence Party is well-underway. Once on the fringe of British politics and geographically confined to London and its immediate vicinity, the anti-Establishment UKIP has recently emerged as a truly national party in Britain. The UKIP candidate for the European Parliament easily won a national election, polls indicate that working class Brits believe the UKIP best represents their interests, and the two Conservative MPs who bolted for the UKIP have won resounding re-election victories. Their success is expected to encourage others.
The UKIP describes itself as "democratic libertarian," and its party platform might be described as "small government conservative." Its policy prescriptions are strikingly similar to the Tea Party Movement here in the United States, especially with regard to immigration, legal or otherwise. Given Britain's "leading edge" role in American politics, the UKIP's publicly stated belief in "Britain for the British" may soon find expression here as "America for Americans."
THE OTHER INVASION
Americans were told for decades that massive, sustained, and essentially uncontrolled immigration was essential for the economy. Immigrants - legal or otherwise - were willing to take jobs native-born Americans scorned. Without them, we were told, there would be no one to pick fruit and lettuce, or perform other physically difficult jobs.
But that claim was untrue, and deliberately designed to obscure two basic realities. The first is that welfare benefits have become so generous that public assistance pays better than many menial jobs - anyone skilled at gaming the system can easily collect the equivalent of $40,000 in cash payments, food stamps, housing subsidies and other government services. The other falsehood is the availability of labor: while it may be true that few native-born Americans would have picked fruit and lettuce at the prevailing wage, basic economics tells us that an increase in remuneration would produce an increase in available labor. The simple truth is that advocates of endless immigration were lying to protect government programs and private sector profits.
Since the Great Recession began in 2007, claims of economic necessity have subsided, but the damage is already done - we now face a new invasion, which will displace the 11,000,000- 30,000,000 illegal immigrants picking fruit and lettuce, washing dishes, waiting tables, and so on and so forth. Only this time they are not coming across the border illegally, but will soon be lawfully imported from Japan.
Faced with a demographic implosion but unwilling to alter the nature of the Japanese "Family State" by importing immigrants, Japan has invested prodigiously in developing life-like robots capable of performing complex tasks now largely performed in the United States by illegal immigrants - picking fruit and lettuce, flipping burgers, waiting tables, washing cars, etc.
Described as "chillingly life-like," the latest generation of humanoid robots have taken Japan by storm. At the Tokyo Designers' Week show, a "female" android named Asuna stunned the audience with "her" realistic skin, voice, eye movements and facial expressions. One male member of the audience was quoted as saying - presumably in jest - that she would make a "good date."
For the moment, androids like Asuna have not been equipped with the advanced artificial intelligence (AI) required for face and voice recognition, or the learning of complex tasks which would permit them to autonomously interact with humans, but the follow-on generation already rolling off the assembly lines are. They are so sophisticated - and convincing - that Japanese film producers intend to substitute them for actors. Looking downstream, Japanese android manufacturers are planning to sell exact imitations of deceased family members to the bereaved, and "life partners" to the lonely. Obviously, an android capable of playing Hamlet can pick lettuce, flip burgers, wash dishes and wait tables as well. Manufacturers also believe they will make ideal receptionists, maids and janitors, as well as providing lawn, pool and dog-walking services, elder care, and - perhaps eventually - child care as well.
As with human wage-workers, the issue with androids is cost. Although presently too expensive for most applications, the per unit price is dropping fast. This is critically important, and should be a central part of the amnesty debate: within a matter of years, most of the estimated 11,000,000-30,000,000 illegal aliens in the United States will be rendered unemployed and unemployable. That's once again good news for businesses seeking cheap labor and for Progressives who seek to increase the size and scale of the welfare state - but it's decidedly bad news for the American tax payers who will have to pick up their tab.
MICHELLE OBAMA, NUTRITION, AND NATIONAL SECURITY
One has to hand it to the First Lady: Michelle Obama is relentless in her quest to improve American nutrition.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was passed by Congress as a direct result of her intense lobbying campaign for healthier school lunches. Under heavy financial pressure, many school districts had resorted to installing soda machines in the lunchrooms and hallways and vending machines that offered high-profit junk food.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Acts effectively banished carbonated beverages and junk food from school grounds, and imposed new nutritional guidelines for school lunches. Unfortunately, this well-intended effort has been a fiasco - for while it has dramatically improved the nutritional content of school lunches, it has been met with scorn by the students who were intended to benefit from it. More than a million have are said to have resorted to "brown bagging" lunch, and a brisk black market in contraband treats has replaced the former vending machines. Others students have resorted to sarcasm, by posting unflattering comments about the First Lady at #thanksmichelleobama, and posting pictures of lunches that could only appeal to fanatical vegetarians. Others have posted pictures of overflowing school dumpsters, loaded with food that students refused to eat.
On the face of it, Mrs. Obama's crusade for better nutrition seems akin to other Statist efforts to use the force of law to compel changes in public behavior. Much as John Calvin believed his religious dictatorship in Geneva could "force men to be free," Michelle Obama seems to believe she can force America's kids to be healthy.
The effort is failing, and badly, but there is a serious underlying issue that will have to be addressed sooner or later: as of today, a quarter of young Americans are obese, and a shocking 70 per cent cannot meet the minimum physical standards required by the armed forces. After other types of disqualifications, such as drug use or criminal histories, that means the military's recruiting pool has shrunk dangerously low. In a crisis, a full-scale military mobilization might prove impossible.
Britain faced a similar situation during the second Boer War, when they were unable to raise an army due to the poor physical condition of potential recruits, caused by inadequate diet, contaminated drinking water and the debilitating effects industrial contaminants. In response to the problem, the British government launched a massive public works program to provide potable water and remove sewage from urban centers, and to improve the quantity and quality of foodstuffs available to the poor. The effort paid off, and likely saved Britain: when World War I broke out 12 years later, public health had improved to such an extent that the United Kingdom was able to field a massive conscript army.
The problem faced by American military planners today is similar, but differs in critical respects: external factors over which they had no control had undermined the health of British youth during the Boer War, but the ill-health of American youth today is due almost entirely to life-style choices. The question, then, is how to alter those choices.
Statist coercion has failed, but there are alternatives. One tried and true possibility would be to levy a "sin tax" on junk food, similar to the taxes applied to alcohol and tobacco. Another would be to take a leaf out of President Kennedy's playbook, and place a renewed emphasis on physical education - which schools have downplayed or abandoned altogether in recent years. A more expansive version of this would be to combine health instruction - including nutrition - with gym, extend the combined class by at least a half- hour, and make it daily.
Although the military recruitment problem is not yet critical, the trend line is alarming. The day of reckoning is fast approaching, and for that reason the Administration should make physical fitness - rather than unpalatable school lunches - a national priority.
Just hours after rioting broke out in Ferguson, Missouri, telephone and computer networks went on the fritz in Washington, DC, and beyond. Starting around 1:00 am on Tuesday, November 25th, internet subscribers began experiencing problems that, apparently, extended as far as Texas. Although the federal government has not confirmed suspicions that the communications grid was hacked, the available evidence suggests that a hostile state or entity mounted a probing attack while the Department of Homeland Security’s attention was - presumably - focused on the developing riot.
If true, the apparent attack matters for two reasons. First, it demonstrates that hostile states and/or entities were attempting to determine to what extent, if any, domestic disturbances degraded America’s cyber defenses. And second, it underscored the extraordinary vulnerability of American society to computerized attacks – a fact that is causing mounting concern within the U.S. defense and intelligence establishments.
Although traditional weapons retain their importance, many in the national security apparatus believe the future of warfare is to be found in “switch flipping,” i.e., shutting down the enemy’s electrical and communications grids by remote. Until recently, cyber attacks were disruptive but fairly easy to manage. But a new generation of computer viruses designed to cause power and communications networks to malfunction in such a way that produces lasting physical damage to their electrical, electronic, and mechanical components could inflict lasting and catastrophic damage. Indeed, the threat is so great that Admiral Michael Rogers, who heads both the National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command, has warned Congress that such an attack could shut down utilities, communications, fuel and water delivery, air transport, banking, and other industries reliant upon computers. With the flip of a switch, the United States could be thrust back to the 1870’s.
THE LONELIEST MAN IN THE WORLD
An insightful essay from commentator Peggy Noonan:
The Loneliest President Since Nixon
GERMANY: SITUATION "CRITICAL"
According to the Interior Minister, Radical Islam poses a "critical" threat to Germany. The number of people capable of staging terrorist attacks within that country is at an all time high.
So much for "Multiculturalism"...
For more on this important story, please clcik on the link below:
RED ALERT IN DEUTSCHLAND
AMNESTY: THE PRESIDENT'S SECRET PLAN
Throughout the summer, President Obama proclaimed his intention to use his claimed executive authority to impose a de facto amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. But after his poll numbers tanked yet again, he fell strangely silent.
But unlike his many other unfulfilled promises, Obama apparently intends to carry out his promise of a White House imposed amnesty. According to Breitbart news, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has issued a draft solicitation for bids on printing between 4,000,000 and 9,000,000 ID cards in Fiscal Year 2016, and a multi year total of as many as 34,000,000. The agency is already purchasing materials for Permanent Residency Cards (Green Cards) and Employment Authorization Documentation cards.
According to Jessica Vaughn, an immigration policy expert with the Center for Immigration Studies and a former State Department official quoted by Breitbart, President Obama is apparently intent on imposing by executive action an amnesty "even more extensive than the plan Congress rejected in the 'Gang of Eight' immigration bill.
Aside from the fact that the President's intended action is extra-Constitutional and probably illegal, the number of identification cards the USCIS is contemplating seems to confirm the Center for Intelligence Studies estimate of the number of illegal immigrants residing in the United States. The Federal Government has long claimed that they number no more than 11,000,000, but the CFIS has calculated the number as being as high as 30,000,000.
Unfortunately, due to federal indifference and incompetence, no one has the slightest idea of who they are, where they are, or what their intentions may be. That lack of knowledge alone constitutes a major threat to the national security.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATIONAL SECURITY
Global warming has been long since discredited - temperature averages have remained unchanged for almost 18 years, and there are no indications that the upward trend that began in the late 19th Century will resume. But climate change in general is an increasingly serious threat.
The Earth's climate has apparently cycled through freeze and thawing throughout recorded history, and likely since it first developed an atmosphere. These cycles are closely associated with mass migrations, such as the one that appears to have devastated Mediterranean civilization around 1000 BC, and the mass migrations that seem to have begun around 200 AD which, eventually, doomed the Western Roman Empire.
A more beneficial climate change began around 800 AD, and produced the Mediaeval Warm Period, which lasted about 500 years. The Warm Period ended with The Little Ice Age, which began imperceptibly about AD 1275 and abruptly intensified around 1430. Periods of warming are associated with peace, progress and population increases; periods of cooling - which seem more abrupt - are associated with famines, mass migrations, wars and plagues.
There are two problems with climate change. One is it's unpredictability - although the freeze-thaw cycles appear to run 500-700 years, they tend to change from one to the other abruptly and without warning. The second is its devastating impact on day to day life and, especially, agriculture. Food production booms or busts in response to sudden climate shifts, and when it busts, all hell breaks loose. Hungry people are desperate people - they typically migrate in huge numbers, and are quick to resort to force when blocked.
Although the problem has long been understood by historians, the Pentagon has only now taken note: in early October, the Department of Defense released a report that identified climate change as an immediate threat to national security. Changing weather patterns - presumably a subset of climate change - such as the ongoing drought in sub-Saharan Africa or the episodic dry spells effecting the western coasts of South and Central America, will diminish food supplies, intensify the migrations already in progress, and increase the risk posed by terrorism and infectious diseases.
It may also impact on force structures and force deployments. Here the fabled Northwest Passage - which links the North Atlantic to the North Pacific - is a case in point: if it opens to large-scale maritime traffic, it will cut the time and cost of moving goods between Europe and Asia by about half, and render the Suez Canal obsolete. It will also open an estimated 30 per cent of the world's total oil and gas reserves to commercial exploitation.
Although discovered in the 1600s, the first successful commercial transit of the Northwest Passage was not made until 1969. Since then, the number of commercial vessels making the passage has slowly increased, due the diminished number of icebergs there. At present, about 30 commercial ships transit the waterway each year and the numbers are expected to grow. If they do, the U.S. and Canadian navies will have to police it - and deny Russia control over it - which will require new, specialty warships and new naval and air bases in the far north.
Editor's Note: The current generation of warships are not built to withstand extended Arctic deployments. To prevent their hulls from cracking, ships designed for long-term Arctic use require purpose-built hulls made from specialty steels.
AN ARMY AT RISK
Three years after President Obama withdrew the last U.S. combat troops from Iraq, the United States has reentered the war. And while Obama claims there will be no American boots on the ground, well-sourced rumors in Washington say that as many as 3000 US troops are already "in country" as advisers, intelligence analysts, and forward air controllers. Most analysts believe the American presence will increase substantially.
This is a problem, especially for the U.S. Army. According to the Pentagon, the Army will be placed at risk when the next round of mandatory budget cuts go into effect during Fiscal Year 2016, which begins next September 30. Already starved for funds, the Army is facing huge risks as it downsizes from 490,000 troops to 450,000, while trying to maintain combat readiness, repair aging equipment, and purchase new hardware.
A large part of the problem is attributable to the 2013 bi-partisan budget deal that imposed across-the-board cuts on the U.S. Government as a whole. All of the armed services suffered severely, but the Army - as the largest service - took the biggest hit.
The problem has been compounded by the fact that the Army is faced by a procurement conundrum. Its major weapons-systems were designed in the mid-to-late 1970s, deployed in the 1980s, and subjected to extraordinary wear and tear in the 13 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan - and although they are badly in need of replacement by new and better systems, the technology for the replacement arms is not quite mature. Under normal circumstances, the Army would deploy them now, and fix and/or upgrade them as they go, but the current budget won't permit that approach. As a result, they are forced to repair, overhaul and rebuild what they have at an ever increasing cost per unit.
This bodes ill for the rejoined conflict in Iraq: if the United States is forced to commit ground forces on a large scale, they will be stretched to the breaking point and required to fight with old weapons-systems that will be, presumably, less reliable due to the number of times they have been overhauled, rebuilt, and repaired. In terms of illustration, the U.S. Army entered World War II with 24-year-old leftovers from World War I. If it has to renter Iraq on a large scale, many of its weapons will be ten or more years older than those.
BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA,
ISLAM, AND THE NEW WORLD ORDER
Barack Hussein Obama has a curious history. Despite longstanding claims to the contrary, documentary evidence indicates he was born into a multiracial, multinational family in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. His mother was a student at the University of Hawaii, his father a Kenyan-born foreign exchange student at the same institution.
Although information on his early life remains sketchy, the basic dates and facts are nonetheless clear: his parents separated shortly after he was born; he and his mother moved to Washington state where they lived during 1961-1962; they returned to Hawaii in 1963 so his mother could continue work on an anthropology degree; his parents divorced in 1964, and his mother married an Indonesian citizen in 1965; and after she completed her undergraduate degree in 1967, she moved to Indonesia to reunite with her husband, and took young Barack with her. There the future president attended an Indonesian-language Catholic elementary school for 2 1/2 years before being enrolled in a government-run Indonesian language school, returning to Hawaii in 1971 to enroll in a prestigious private school. During her sojourn in Indonesia, his mother was an assistant director for the U.S. government-subsidized Indonesia-America Friendship Institute, and later an English-language teacher at the Institute of Management and Education.
After returning to the United States, Obama graduated from high school in 1979; studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years before transferring to Columbia, where he took a BA in political science with an emphasis on international relations; and worked as a community organizer for five years before enrolling in Harvard Law School, from which he graduated magna cum laude. Curiously, none of his former classmates from Occidental or Columbia seem to remember him; and despite having been editor of the Harvard Law Review, he apparently published nothing at all. It seems as though he was a ghost during his college and graduate years; or as more suspicious minds might suggest, either a spook or the son of one.
The suspicion is not preposterous. Despite the CIA's calculated effort to promote its public image as a secretive organization engaged in dark and exotic espionage operations against Americas' enemies abroad, during the 1950s and 1960s the Agency was deeply engaged in political influence operations throughout the Third World - including Indonesia - and was a major source of funding for organizations like the ones the President's mother worked for. During that time-frame, credentialed and well-traveled anthropologists such as she were secretly recruited as contract agents on a routine basis. Given the times and the circumstances, then, it is entirely plausible to suppose she was involved with the Agency to one extent or another. Indeed, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, who has a long history of breaking intelligence-related stories, has implied as much.
If it is true that President Obama's mother was a contract agent for the CIA, or even had a less formal relationship with that Agency, it would explain a great deal about Obama's domestic and foreign policies - and especially, his policies toward Muslims. Although nominally a Christian, Obama has given little public indication of faith and has routinely overlooked appalling and ongoing atrocities against his purported brethren in the Middle East. But he has publicly proclaimed solidarity with Muslims, and frequently waxed eloquent on the virtues of Islam - including, lately, genuinely bizarre claims as to Islam's historic contributions to America (of which there are none).
Some critics have been quick to say that Obama's public affinity for Islam reflects the fact that he is a secret Muslim, a claim bolstered by Egyptian newspaper reports that Obama is, in fact, a devout Muslim, hiding his true faith of political necessity. But a far more likely explanation is the President has simply bought into the notion of "Remaking the Third World" in preface to integrating these countries into a new and better international system, aka, the New World Order. Whether official policy or not, this notion was widely held by CIA officers during the 1950s and 1960s, and his mother would surely have been aware of that. President Obama may have acquired this belief from her, or from her friends and acquaintances in Indonesia. Given the times and the circumstances, at least some of them would surely have been contract agents.
Having pried Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union's grip, and successfully brought most of Latin America, Africa and Asia into the emerging international system, American policymakers in Washington believe the major task remaining is to bring the Muslim lands of the Middle East into the fold. Given his unusual background, and his experience of Islam while living in Indonesia, President Obama may feel a personal commitment to this effort, and believe that he is uniquely suited to carry it out.
Editors Note: Contrary to the claims of Left wing critics, the CIA - as an organization - has always been decidedly left of center.
IRANIAN INTELLIGENCE: GOING (SEMI) PUBLIC
The first thing an intelligence service wants to know about an opposition service is its Table of Organization, ie., how the target service is structured. The second thing it wants to know is the target's Order of Battle, i.e., which officers and support personnel are assigned where.
Naturally, intelligence services don't like to divulge either. But over time, the knowledge of how they are structured eventually seeps out. At that point, the game changes and some public acknowledgement of structure is publicly admitted. But specific details are still guarded, special sections are hidden in other parts of the bureaucracy, and personnel assignments are jealously protected.
It seems the Iranian intelligence apparatus has reached that point: in October, Iran disclosed that Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi heads a coordination council that oversees the operations of 16 intelligence services which - supposedly - constitute the Iranian Intelligence community. The announcement was published in a magazine produced by the Intelligence Ministry on the 30th anniversary of its creation, when several legacy services inherited from the deposed Shah were consolidated and brought under a unified command.
Why the Iranians chose to make this information public at this time is unclear, but it seems a part of a larger trend toward greater openness that began several years ago. Indeed, Iranian intelligence went so far as to publish a special contact number after a public appeal for greater citizen assistance.
One plausible theory is that Iranian intelligence is having trouble attracting new recruits, and decided to increase its visibility in order to encourage greater public awareness of the career prospects it offers. If so, that would not be especially surprising: intelligence services are having problems attracting new recruits in the U.S. and Russia, and presumably the rest of the world as well.
For their part, the Russians have just rolled out a new cloak and dagger TV series based loosely on Edward Snowden's defection to Moscow, quietly sponsored by the KGB to boost enlistments. Presumably, the U.S. intelligence community has a successor to the phenomenally successful Homeland in the works, as well.
There was a time when aspiring spooks were "spotted" by professors at select universities. But these days, it's all - well, mostly - a matter of Show Biz...
On July 1, 2014, the one-time Army machinist and atomic spy David Greenglass died with little fanfare at a retirement home in New York. The brother-in-law of Julius Rosenberg and brother of Ethel Rosenberg, Greenglass provided damning testimony against his sister in her 1951 trial in the Southern District Court of New York. As a result of his testimony, she was sentenced to death for her part in providing the Soviet Union with the atomic bomb secrets.
The evidence against Julius was sufficient for conviction, but the evidence against Ethyl was both slight and questionable until Greenglass testified that she had typed up information purloined from the atomic bomb project. Greenglass later claimed his testimony was coerced, and that he fabricated most of it in exchange for the promise of a reduced sentence, and freedom for his wife.
Although that was apparently the case, the alleged coercion did not come from the FBI. According to Raymond W. Wannall, former Assistant Director for National Security, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover did not want Ethel Rosenberg to receive the death penalty, fearing both a miscarriage of justice and the prospect that she would become a Communist martyr. Instead, the arm twisting appears to have resulted from secret collusion between federal prosecutor Irving Saypol, Judge Irving Kauffman, and The New York Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger. All three were Jewish, and reportedly deeply concerned that the Rosenbergs' treason would spark a wave of anti-Semitism in the United States. The obvious solution was to have a Jewish prosecutor demand the maximum penalty for both the traitors, a Jewish judge to levy the sentence, and a Jewish-controlled newspaper to back them up. Although there is no documentary evidence that proves Saypol conspired with Judge Kauffman, the Judge is known to have secretly and improperly solicited Sulzberger for The New York Times editorial support, prior to passing sentence. Sulzberger agreed.
Aside from the fact that Judge Kauffman's actions were grossly improper - and probably illegal - there was another downside to the arm twisting and the behind-the-scenes collusion that condemned Ethel Rosenberg: specifically, the fact that Greenglass was never properly debriefed. At the time, the FBI believed he was a minor figure in the Rosenberg spy ring, but subsequent evidence suggests that he may have been the key player. If so, a wealth of information was lost to U.S. analysts - information that might have made American counterespionage and counterintelligence far more effective during the 1950s.
After his release from prison, Greenglass claimed his memory was faulty, and that he was unsure who had done what in the Rosenberg ring. Maybe so, but in light of later evidence it seems more likely that he was covering his tracks. But the Soviet threat has vanished, Greenglass is dead, and his soul - presumably - has moved on to Dante's First Circle. He won't be missed.
NAPOLEON, OBAMA AND THE EBOLA CRISIS
After spending weeks reassuring the American people that that Ebola posed only a slight risk to the United States, President Obama was forced to appoint former White House staff member Ron Klain as his "Ebola Czar." This followed three confirmed cases of the disease in the continental United States and the possible infection of at least 800 other individuals, due to the medical negligence of Texas health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where the first confirmed case was recorded, and subsequent bungling by the U.S. Center for Disease Control, located in Atlanta.
The incoherent federal response to the Ebola threat was due in part to President Obama's obsessive commitment to Globalist ideology, and the open borders policy that sustains it, and in part to the incompetence and negligence of lesser officials. But there's a deeper problem in play, rooted in the very structure of American government.
Napoleon once observed that he could provide effective supervision for five generals under ordinary circumstance, but only three in the heat of battle. This led him to develop the concept of "span of control," which became the basic organizational principle of his army. It has since spread to every fighting force in the world, which are now organized on the principle of "three plus one commander," "four plus one commander," or - rarely - "five plus one commander."
The same problem that confronted Napoleon is found in other organizations as well, including civilian government. In the United States, the President presides over 17 cabinet secretaries and 6 (sometimes 7) cabinet-level agency chiefs - a total number which is far exceeds Napoleon's "span of control."
This begs the obvious question: if an undisputed organizational genius such as Napoleon couldn't effectively manage the United States Government, as presently structured, how can one expect a President of far lesser ability to do so? The equally obvious answer is that one cannot. It's simply impossible.
This was not a significant problem when the federal government was content to defend the borders and deliver the mail. But it has become increasingly acute as the size and responsibilities of government have grown. The ad hoc solution that emerged in the 1970s was the appointment of so-called "Tsars," i.e., presidential assistants charged with coordinating cross-cabinet responses to specific challenges. Hence, the Drug Tsar, the Energy Tsar, and now the Ebola Tsar.
The "Tsar Solution" has worked reasonably well as an organizational adaptation, because it is more or less consistent with modern management theory - which has abandoned traditional hierarchies in favor of new, radically decentralized ("flat") organizations in which decisions are no longer made at the top and passed down, but are made at some relevant point in the new organizational structure and passed along laterally. Management theorists call this the "Starfish Model," and businesses which have adopted it have proved more agile, adaptive and profitable than those that have clung to the traditional top-down, hierarchical decision-making scheme.
Still, there are problems. First, the "Tsar Solution" is extra-constitutional, and for that reason is bound to be eventually challenged by the Congress or in the courts. And second, it is a stop-gap solution to a much deeper problem - specifically, the ever-increasing size, cost and incapacity of modern government to perform its most basic tasks.
As James Rickards has pointed out, government - like every other human endeavor - is subject to the Law of Diminishing Returns, and by any reasonable measure we are on the negative side of the investment curve. Simply put, the more we spend on government the less we will get in return.
In Rickards' view, modern government has become a losing proposition. It is a burden rather than a boon, and unless we move promptly to downsize and de-scale, it will collapse under its own weight. But that would require a revolution in public beliefs and perceptions, and a willingness to admit that government, qua government, simply cannot provide the things that politicians have promised - a development that is, in our opinion, unlikely at best until the "Me Generation" of Baby Boomers passes from the scene.
Editors Note: The editors of Intelligence Briefs strongly urge the public to read Rickards' two recent books, Currency Wars and The Death of Money. Both provide excellent background on the coming crisis of government.
THE ISLAMIC STATE:
STRATEGIC BLUNDERS OF MONUMENTAL PROPORTIONS
As of this writing, the Islamic State (IS) is the most threatening of the many Islamic terrorist groups that confront the United States and its allies. But because of two catastrophic blunders, its long-term prospects are bleak.
Its first mistake was to declare itself a “Caliphate.” A caliphate is a traditional form of governance in the Muslim Middle East, in which political and religious authority is combined in the person of a caliph who rules – theoretically, at least – over all Muslims. It is by definition non-national, and for that reason it is fundamentally incompatible with the system of nation-states first established in Europe by the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which subsequently spread throughout the world. Because political leaders world-wide are stakeholders in the Westphalian System, the proclamation of a caliphate was bound to provoke a harsh reaction, even among the Arab states of the Middle East. This accounts for President Obama’s relative ease in recruiting Arab partners for the aerial campaign against the IS - who are, as of the writing, carrying out the lion’s share of the sorties flown against IS targets in Syria.
The second mistake was the extraordinary brutality the IS visited on the largely Muslim population it subjugated in Iraq. Because Islam draws a sharp distinction between Infidels and the Faithful, it’s one thing to behead Christians and Jews and quite another to slaughter fellow Muslims: Islamic State fighters have executed thousands of Iraqi military prisoners; raped and crucified countless women and young girls; buried old men and young boys alive; and gleefully recorded their atrocities for the Internet. No surprise, then, that a wave of revulsion has swept over the Islamic World. In the end, the IS and other Islamic terrorist organizations will die from this self-inflicted wound.
Victory in the War on Terror depends on Muslims looking inward, and asking themselves if this is who and what they wish to be, and if this is the Islam they wish to follow. The IS has held a mirror up before the Islamic World, and the greatest majority of Muslims have turned away in disgust.
As a result of the Islamic State’s barbarism, an Islamic reformation of sorts has begun – very different from the Protestant Reformation in Europe five centuries ago, but potentially just as consequential.
THE ROCKEFELLERS SEND A MESSAGE
John D. Rockefeller made most of his vast fortune in oil. A century later, his descendents are abandoning the industry he helped create: on September 22nd, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund - an $860,000,000 philanthropic organization - announced it was divesting from fossil fuels. This follows 180 other charitable and religious organizations, pension funds and local governments that have also abandoned conventional energies, and at first glance seems to be part of a much larger movement. But it given the prominence of the Rockefeller Family, it can also be seen as a signal.
Much as then-Princess Elizabeth's 1947 speech to the British Commonwealth legitimized the post-war Civil Rights Movement by tacitly endorsing racial and religious equality, the Rockefeller announcement can be seen as signaling the end of the Fossil Fuel Era and the beginning of a new era of alternative energies. Certainly, the timing is auspicious.
Here cell phones are instructive: in the early 1980s a consulting firm hired by AT&T disregarded the march of technology and concluded that portable, hand held phones were too bulky, too expensive to buy and operate, too limited in range and too limited by battery capacity to catch on. They estimated that the total market for cell phones world-wide wouldn't exceed 900,000 units, and for that reason they advised AT&T to abandon the market. But they were wrong - today, several billion are currently in operation, and all but the poorest of the world's poor can afford one.
Much the same criticism has been leveled against solar power, which after almost 30 years provides only about 1 per cent of the world's electrical power. But the amount of solar power harvested has been doubling every two years for the past three decades, which means that within 14 years solar power can provide for 100 per cent of the planet's electricity needs with existing technology. And much like cell phones, solar technology has advanced at an incredible rate even as the cost per unit dropped. The cost of solar panels has declined by 75 per cent in the past five years, and price keeps dropping. By 2020, solar power will be "grid competitive" and by 2030 it will cost a fraction of conventional electricity. Importantly, the technologies for other alternative energies are advancing in a similar manner: the cost of wind, tidal, bio-mass, thermal and waste breakdown energies is dropping almost as fast as solar.
The combined impact of these new energy generating systems is revolutionary. Within 15 years or so, the cost of electricity will be measured in terms of the initial outlay for generating system alone; monthly meter charges will go the way of the horse and buggy. Utility companies will go slowly bankrupt and "the grid," as it is called, will become a distant memory.
The political implications are equally profound. Since rise of large-scale industry in the late 18th century, production requirements have driven society toward an ever-greater centralization. Big factories required large labor forces; large numbers of workers gave rise to large cities; the prevalence of disease among concentrated populations required muscular city governments to provide fresh water, sewage, and trash disposal to prevent epidemics; the human propensity for crime and carelessness required centralized police and fire protection; the business cycle, which inevitably resulted in large-scale layoffs, required a welfare system to prevent starvation and riots; and eventually, a centralized electrical grid was needed to light and power factories, offices, streets and homes.
Simply put, technology gave rise to industry, and industry required ever expanding government, ever increasing taxes, and ever expanding government regulations. Within that context, labor unions made sense - and so, too, did left wing political parties to represent their interests. But technology is now in the process of reversing the direction of social change and reshaping the political landscape. The days of centralized, top-down control are fast coming to an end, and a new era of radical decentralization is just over the horizon.
As a practical matter, that means the Era of Big Government is truly over - and perhaps just in time. As historians have observed, civilizations progress through life-cycles with more or less definable stages. Why they decline remains contentious but how they decline is clear: civilizational decline is invariably associated with the rise of a centralized, parasitic government that places its own interests above those of its people. The deliberate de-industrialization of America, the export of high-paying American jobs, the progressive collapse of the American middle class, hyper-regulation and the dramatic expansion of the welfare state are all symptomatic. So too, are unsustainable levels of government debt and currency debasement - in this case, through officially denied inflation.
Few serious observers believe the United States can long continue on its present course - indeed, many are predicting a catastrophic financial collapse once the general public awakens to the fact that the US Government cannot meet its debt obligations. With the financial system in ruins, they argue that the rest of society will quickly unravel. The already emergent "Friendly Fascism" will be the only way to stem the chaos.
But rapid advances in technology - especially, in alternative energies, the new 3-D Printing process, and digitalized "private currencies" - offer a way out. They are pushing us in the direction of economic and - by extension - government decentralization, and toward a new era of individual initiative and self-reliance.
By happy coincidence, this is precisely what many experts believe is needed to stave off a comprehensive collapse.
AN UNTOLD STORY:
It is often said that demography is destiny. If that's true, the Islamic World is in deep trouble.
The post-war baby boom struck the Muslim lands late, toward the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, and it was especially pronounced in the Arab lands of North Africa and the Middle East: by 2001, almost 60 per cent of Arab population was 20-years old or under. Many were well-educated, but due to lagging economic growth rates few had jobs, or even the prospect of a job. Angry, bitter and disillusioned, they were easy pickings for al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups. If they could not live the good life, they could at least die for God in glory.
For reasons that remain unclear, most Western scholars assumed that the Islamic Baby Boom would continue unchecked. As a result, they expected a human tsunami, as Muslims multiplied unchecked. But that didn't happen - instead, Muslim birthrates are plummeting worldwide at an historically unprecedented rate.
According to a study sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, data from 49 Muslim-majority countries or territories reveal a 41 per cent decline in overall fertility rates from 1975-80 through 2005-10 - a decline 10 per cent greater than the non-Muslim population world-wide. 22 of these Muslim countries/regions experienced more than a 50 per cent decrease in fertility rates, with the greatest declines recorded in Iran, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Bangladesh, Libya, Albania, Qatar and Kuwait. In Iran, the fertility rate dropped a staggering 70 per cent!
Far from conquering the globe through population growth, the Islamic World is on the verge of contraction. Indeed, the populations of many Muslim countries now seem destined to shrink in size. The only Muslim area where fertility levels have remained high is sub-Saharan Africa.
Family planning advocates have been quick to claim credit, arguing that Islam is far more receptive to birth control and abortion than other faiths. But there are other, far more important factors at work.
One of these is the fact that unemployed young men rarely marry, due to local customs or financial reality. Another is that young married couples often find it nearly impossible to secure housing: the "wait list" for a government-owned apartment in Egypt is more than 40 years. Yet another and increasingly important factor is the "flight from marriage" that has become common among Muslim women, particularly in the Mid East.
Although Islam is routinely criticized for its treatment of women, it does provide women with several important rights - specifically, the right to work, and to keep the fruits of their labor; and the right to divorce. And local customs in many Islamic countries permit unmarried women a greater degree of freedom than their married counterparts. Muslim fathers, it seems, are a great deal more indulgent toward their daughters than Muslim husbands are toward their wives. Acting in combination, these three factors have led to a marked decline in marriage and procreation.
But underlying all is the phenomenon of "Historical Optimism," which is the single largest factor in female fertility: 1000 years of meticulously kept European statistics clearly demonstrate that when women believe the future will be better, they prefer more children to fewer; when they believe the future will be worse, they prefer fewer to more. The fact that fertility levels are plummeting all over the Islamic World is therefore a collective vote of "no confidence" in Islam's future. It signifies a crisis of faith, one of truly monumental proportions.
CUBA'S PLAYING A LONG GAME
According to a recently published FBI report, the Cuban foreign intelligence service (DGI) is actively recruiting spies and agents of influence on American college campuses, where patriotism is a rare virtue. Most academics regard a commitment to country as an atavistic impulse, to be rightly scorned; and as members of the cognoscenti, many believe it their duty to work toward a brave new world of global socialism.
Despite the fact that Cuba's Communist experiment has been a miserable failure in practice, leftist academics are apparently willing to help the DGI, as "spotters," recruiters, agents-of-influence, or actual spies. As professors they have a unique opportunity to identify and assess students for recruitment to the Cuban cause; to help the recruits obtain employment in the federal government; to support and legitimize Cuban propaganda; or - for those with defense contracts - to engage in actual espionage.
Recruiting American academics is a remarkably easy task: having spent most or all of their adult lives in the Ivory Tower, most are profoundly naive. When they meet foreign academics at international conferences, as they routinely do, they tend to accept their credentials at face value. The possibility that foreign academics might also be active or reserve intelligence officers on assignment rarely crosses their mind.
Initial assessments are typically made at academic conferences abroad, and if an American professor is deemed a likely candidate for recruitment, often pursued by invitations to other academic conferences held on home ground, or at least on friendly soil. As an enticement, the Americans may be given a prominent place on the speakers roster, expenses and not infrequently an honorarium. If that doesn't work, a rowdy late night drinking expedition - often including prostitutes and illegal drugs - that ends in an embarrassing arrest will do the trick. Bailed out of jail by a host country "colleague" - who, by amazing coincidence, just happens to have a cousin who can bury the tawdry affair - the American will be more than happy to help their benefactor out with a few extracurricular odds and ends. Especially after being informed that "those bastards in the security service filmed the whole thing."
But intelligence services are amazingly flexible, and the Cuban service is no exception. Infiltrating American business is also a priority, so business students are highly prized recruits as well. Once "spotted" by Cuban-controlled professors, their careers are carefully followed. Once they reach a level of responsibility, the DGI will attempt to seduce them with lucrative business deals. What's a little technology transfer among friends when there's millions to be made with otherwise legitimate trade deals? Especially now, when Cuba's transition from Communism to a form of "Managed Democracy" is just over the horizon.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Cuba's espionage operations against the United States - of which recruiting academics is an integral part - is the fact that Cuban intelligence is playing a long game. They're looking past the present Communist regime toward a future in which Cuban intelligence, like the KGB in Russia, will occupy an important and perhaps dominant role.
A NATIONAL SECURITY NIGHTMARE
President Obama's plan to "administratively amnesty" as many as 5,000,000 illegal aliens is a "security nightmare" according to Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who believes it will make terrorist attacks against the continental United States even easier. Sessions is concerned because executive orders issued by the President have already re-directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) resources away from national security, and created "massive" enforcement loopholes that can be exploited by terrorists. As a result of these executive orders, virtually anyone who turns up at the southern border and claims to be of Central American origin and under the age of 18 is automatically admitted to the United States for humanitarian reasons.
According to Border Patrol agents, many of these refugees are clearly not from Central America and are obviously well-over 18 - but the White House has ordered them admitted anyway. Although still officially denied, press reports say that at least four of these "refugees" were subsequently apprehended as known terrorists.
Thus far the Administration has given wildly conflicting assessments of the threat posed by terrorists crossing our southern border. On the one hand, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes has publicly stated that he's seen no evidence that terrorists (specifically, Islamic State terrorists) intend to exploit the effective abrogation of frontier security by mounting a cross-border attack on the United States; on the other, President Obama has justified the American aerial campaign against the IS in Syria and Iraq by asserting that it poses a grave threat to American security.
Given precise wording used by the President to justify his action in the Middle East, it's difficult to escape the conclusion that he has exposed the nation to attack - and doesn't know what to do about it. Under intense pressure from Hispanics, and having painted himself into a corner with his incessant demands for amnesty, he has apparently concluded that his best bet is to wage war on the IS abroad and hope that it doesn't come home to haunt him.
Apparently, the President believes "wishing upon a lucky star" can substitute for a reality-based national security policy.
WHEN RHETORIC COLLIDES WITH REALITY
There's a quiet debate going on behind-the-scenes in Washington: the gap between President Obama's rhetoric and reality has grown so large that some think he's out of touch; others think he just views the world through rose color glasses.
For an excellent article addressing this question - surprisingly, from The New York Times - please click on the link below:
Haunted by Words Past
THE CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST
Her Majesty's Government is alarmed. There are now more British Muslims fighting with the ISIS in the Middle East than there are serving in the British armed forces. Worse yet, most of the radicalized Brits intend to return home one day, and bring their Jihad with them.
Following hard on the heels of the Trojan Horse Conspiracy in Birmingham, in which a clique of Muslims tried and nearly succeeded in hijacking the public school system in order to impose an "Islamic-compliant" curriculum and code of conduct, the emergent threat posed by British Jihadists has rattled the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Just days after raising Britain's terrorist alert level from "Substantial" to "Severe" - meaning a major terrorist attack is deemed likely - Cameron authorized sweeping new counterterrorist measures which include authorizing the police to arrest returning Jihadists and seize their passports, and to impose temporary travel restrictions on suspected terrorist sympathizers. More stringent measures, including a mandatory "deprogramming" process for returning Jihadists, have been shelved for now.
According to Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party - the upstart fourth party now surging in the polls - that's all well and fine, but beside the larger point. The real problem is the British Establishment's foolhardy commitment to "Multiculturalism," which has divided Britons and pushed their country apart. In the process, it has given rise to a dangerous Fifth Column of Muslims in Britain who are British in name only. They are neither capable nor willing to assimilate to a democratic society.
The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is often characterized as the British Tea Party, as it seeks to "take Britain back" from the unresponsive British Political Establishment, in much the same way that the Tea Party seeks to "take America back" from the equally unresponsive Political Establishment on this side of the Atlantic. Ending their respective establishment's failed policies of "Multiculturalism" and "Diversity," and limiting massive and essentially unrestrained immigration from culturally distant lands, are major goals of both movements.
Largely for these reasons, the UKIP is fast emerging as a major political party in Britain: once considered part of the radical fringe, and limited geographically to London and its immediate environs, the UKIP has in the past year emerged as a truly national party with an increasingly broad and respectable base of support. An appropriate slogan might be, "The UKIP: Not Just for Nutters Anymore."
The rise of the UKIP matters on this side of the pond, because British political developments tend to precede American political developments by about five years. Although few Americans or Brits are aware of the fact, the British and American Financial Elites effectively merged with the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913 - and the Political Establishments on either side of the Atlantic, beholden to the bi-national Elite, have acted in tandem to support its interests since the 1930's. The success of the UKIP's grass roots rebellion and its emergence as both a competitive and respectable political force, one able and willing to challenge the British Political Establishment - and the Financial Elite that pulls its strings - therefore suggests the Tea Party may soon achieve comparable success in the United States as well.
Though not quite a revolution, that would be revolutionary nonetheless.
Editor's Note: For those interested in the rise of the Anglo-American Financial Elite, and the Political Establishment it spawned on both sides of the Atlantic, we highly recommend Georgetown Professor of History Carroll Quigley's majestic tome, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time.
At the end of August, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia warned that terrorists dispatched by the ISIS would reach Europe in a month, and the United States in two, and urged the governments of each to take all due precautions. According to the Saudi monarch,
These terrorists do not know the name of humanity and you have witnessed them severing heads and giving them to children to walk with in the street...
By implication, King Abdullah believes the ISIS will commit similar atrocities in Europe and the US.
The Saudi monarch went on to state that he was so concerned by the prospect of an ISIS terrorist attacks against the United States and Europe that he had ordered his ambassadors to relay his warning directly to the governments they are accredited to. But for whatever reason, the Obama Administration has apparently disregarded the Saudi king. Shortly after Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel described ISIS as an "imminent threat" to the United States, the White House began backpedaling by publicly claiming ISIS terrorists do not pose an immediate danger to the US.
For the Obama Administration, much is at stake - most immediately, the President's de facto policy of open borders and unrestricted immigration. If the Administration were to publicly acknowledge the threat of a cross-border attack from Mexico by ISIS terrorists, he would be compelled to secure the frontier - something he is utterly opposed to doing. Halting unrestricted immigration into the US would contradict the Political Establishment's unstated but nonetheless real policy of upending the demographic balance of the United States and, ultimately, force an acknowledgement that "Multiculturalism" and "Diversity" are dangerous failures.
The Administration's stubborn refusal to accept the painfully obvious reality that these policy precepts have failed the test of experience is difficult to understand. By any reasonable analysis, leaving the border open and essentially undefended is a high risk, low reward policy gamble - one which threatens both the President and his legacy: should the ISIS or any other terrorist organization succeed in mounting a successful cross-border attack, Obama's presidency will be effectively ended, and his legacy forever tarnished.
THE AMERICAN POLICE STATE
The seemingly endless civil unrest that rocked the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson following the fatal shooting of the unarmed, 18-year old Michael Brown by a local police officer did more than provoke widespread outrage at the seemingly unjustified use of deadly force. It also brought millions of TV viewers face to face with the reality of police militarization, as they watched a small, local police department deploy armored fighting vehicles, machine guns and assault rifles. For the better part of two weeks, Ferguson looked more like a Third World dictatorship than suburban America.
Ferguson's militarized police police force is the result of a well-intended federal program initiated in 1990, known as the 1033 Program, to upgrade local and state police departments so they could better cope with increasingly well-armed drug dealers. The 1033 Program established a form of domestic lend-lease, in which the Pentagon would transfer military surplus to civilian police agencies and departments, with the proviso that the police properly maintain them. At the time, a great many police departments needed at least one bullet-resistant vehicle. After a deadly shootout in Los Angeles, in which a team of bank robbers engaged the police with automatic weapons, many police departments decided to add assault rifles to their inventory as well. Since 1997 the dollar value of the military-to-police transfers amounted to some five billion dollars; in Wisconsin alone, 219 police agencies have received some 67,000 military items from the Pentagon.
The 1033 Program, which has gone through successive incarnations, received a major boost after 9-11. Terrorist attacks could happen at any time and any place, and police departments throughout the United States began "heavying up" to deal with the possibility. All-terrain armored fighting vehicles that could move through streets clogged by rubble and debris were at the top of their lists, followed helicopters, grenade launchers, night vision equipment, sniper rifles and heavy machine guns. More recently, police departments have been requesting aerial surveillance drones.
Apparently unaware of the full range of transfers, members of Congress have reacted to the Ferguson Police Department's deployment of armored fighting vehicles, automatic weapons and - apparently - a heavy caliber machine gun. Congressional veterans assert that wasn't what they had in mind when they set up the program, and several congressional offices are reportedly scrambling to produce a revised bill to limit Freguson-style deployments.
Despite their good intentions, the legislation governing Pentagon-to-Police transfers will probably stand. The reason for this is President Obama's 2008 campaign pledge to create "A domestic security force as large and as capable as our military." After a public backlash, Obama soft-peddled the idea, but never abandoned it. Hence the massive ammunition purchases by federal law enforcement agencies, a new and heavy emphasis on federal inter-agency police training and co-ordination, and the establishment of regional command centers by the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate local police departments. For all practical purposes, we now have a de facto, bi-level national police force, composed of federal police, augmented by local departments coordinated by Homeland Security.
Given the threat posed by foreign terrorists, there is no question that local police departments need some military arms to hold the line until the national guard or military can arrive. But these should be carefully calculated minimums, and held in strict reserve.
The fact that America's local police have morphed into para-military formations and tied together in a national network without fanfare or public debate is chilling - and all the more so, given the tremendous erosion of civil liberties over the past decade. Surveillance cameras are now ubiquitous; every telephone call, text message and e-mail is now intercepted, recorded and logged; and new surveillance equipment so sophisticated that they might have been inspired by science fiction dystopias have combined to effectively nullify the Fourth Amendment. Privacy has been abolished.
When you add to that distressing fact the Administration's effort to gut the First Amendment by proposing "legitimate journalists" be licensed, and its ongoing effort to undermine the Second Amendment, it is difficult to argue that America remains a "free country." American citizens are now more heavily surveilled than the subjects of the former Soviet Union and, almost certainly, contemporary North Korea.
The Grand Irony here is that most of this is unnecessary. Security could be achieved as well, or better, by sealing the border, limiting immigration, and subjecting foreign ships and cargo aircraft to simple security measures.
But that would reduce business profits, and contradict the US Government’s real but never publicly stated policy of Global Integration...
AN ISLAMIC CIVIL WAR
Since storming out of their haven in northeastern Syria and northwestern Iraq to overrun much of the latter, the Islamic State in the Levant - now known as the Islamic State, or IS - has won a well-deserved reputation for savagery. At a minimum, it has slaughtered at least 10,000 Iraqi civilians and unknown thousands of captured Iraqi soldiers. Most recently, it brutally beheaded American journalist James Foley.
Composed exclusively of Sunni Muslims, the IS has also called for the extermination of Muslim Shiites, whom it regards as Infidels, as well as Christians, Jews and anyone else who might object to its newly proclaimed Caliphate and its exceptionally severe brand of Islamic law. It has also threatened to "drown the United States in blood" and to attack the White House.
The astonishing battlefield successes of IS forces has placed President Obama in a difficult situation. Having authored what is now seen as a precipitous American military withdrawal from Iraq in December of 2011, Mr. Obama has been forced to reintroduce American combat forces into that country to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and, likely, genocide on a scale not witnessed since World War II.
It has also forced Muslims to confront the reality of Islamic Extremism for the first time. For so long as Muslims were fighting against Western forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was easy to justify atrocities committed in the name of Allah - especially when they were directed against Americans, Britons, and Europeans. These Infidels were, after all, waging war on Islam - or so Muslims persuaded themselves.
But now that Muslims are the primary target of Islamic terror, that rationalization is no longer possible. As a result, several heads of Arab states have condemned the IS, including the King of Saudi Arabia, and opprobrium is spreading throughout the Islamic World. Most recently, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia - the world's largest Muslim-majority country - has condemned IS-initiated violence as "shocking" and "out of control," and called on world leaders to act in concert to suppress it.
Perhaps more important than its effect on Muslim leaders, is the long-term impact of IS barbarism on ordinary Muslims world-wide. Now that Muslims are slaughtering other Muslims, they have been forced to critically examine themselves, and their faith, for the first time. Based upon the Christian experience of the Religious Wars in Europe, this will likely be a shattering experience which will reverberate across centuries. It will force Muslims - especially those residing in Western lands - to choose between a literal adherence to their faith, or a sort of "Smorgasbord Islam" reminiscent of the "Smorgasbord Christianity" that eventually emerged from the European catastrophe.
This is important, because it was the Smorgasbord Approach that made it possible for Catholics to shrug and say to their Protestant and Jewish neighbors, "Yes, I'm Catholic, but I don't pay much attention to doctrine;" and for Protestants and Jews to say much the same in reply. Despite its obvious theological failings, the Smorgasbord Approach was and remains an essential precondition for religious tolerance and the practice of democracy.
Although the theo-political ferment occasioned by IS atrocities in the Islamic World is a welcome development, it may take a very long time for it to bear fruit - and as Lord Keynes once quipped, long-term developments are of small concern, because "In the long run, we're all dead anyway."
Simply put, we have to live in the here and now, and for that reason it is critically important for the United States and its allies to develop an appropriate and effective response to the threat posed by the IS.
HOLD, CUT AND KILL
From a military standpoint, the IS is wildly over-extended.
Having conquered an estimated 40 per cent of Iraq's total territory and subjugated perhaps 35 per cent of the population with a combat force built around an estimated 4000 hardened fighters, augmented by tribal allies and remnants of Saddam Hussein's army, the IS is dangerously vulnerable to counterattack.
The obvious strategy for defeating the IS can be summarized as HOLD, CUT and KILL: for the Iraqi army and their Kurdish allies to hold what they have, then cut the IS's lines of communications with airstrikes and commando raids, and then destroy the IS positions they've isolated, one by one. The strategy is simple in concept, and with complete command of the air it should be comparatively easy to execute in practice.
Having decided that the United States cannot allow the IS to overrun Iraq - and seize the Mid East's second largest oil reserves - President Obama must now decide on the proper level of American military involvement. Since opposition to the reintroduction of US ground forces is nearly universal, it follows that the American intervention should be limited to the provision of intelligence, strategic bombing, aerial interdiction operations, air support for Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces, logistical support, training - especially for the Kurds - and advice. Two to three thousand American military personnel "in country" is a plausible figure, with another 15-20,000 outside the country engaged in air operations and support.
This time, however, American assistance should not come cheap. During the first phase of America's involvement in Iraq, the United States picked up the multi-trillion dollar tab to secure the country and establish a democratic government. This time, the US and participating allies should insist that the Iraqi government pay some or all of their costs. To do otherwise would encourage Iraqi irresponsibility.
The time has come for the Iraqi political class to accept responsibility for their own survival - and for the survival of their country - and in this, financial sacrifice looms large.