May 2014

THE UNTRUSTWORTHY SUPERPOWER

Steven LeBlanc

05 29 2014

A superpower is expected to act with clear decisive strokes, but this is not what America’s allies see coming out of Washington. Inaction and evading tough choices is the default foreign policy strategy of the United States. National columnist Charles Krauthammer put it in abrupt terms: “President Obama is learning very late that, for a superpower, inaction is a form of action. You can abdicate, but you really can’t hide. History will find you. It has found Obama.”

America’s influence is at its lowest ebb in 40 years. America’s allies look to us to support them in times of trouble. But we have not been a faithful friend–Washington has failed repeatedly to honor its word, and its implied obligations with its [allies]—they have had enough! The harsh reality is the United States is a rapidly declining superpower—our allies and our enemies are clearly aware of this fact. What most Americans don’t appreciate is that God is no longer blessing our nation.

One particular lesson here is that God expects people and nations to keep their pledges and commitments. Take note of Numbers 30:2: “If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word (this applies for international agreements as well). He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” America is no longer dependable—and our allies know it.

America’s friends are angry, and with good reason. The President speaks with determined, bold rhetoric when addressing international crises– but does not follow through with deeds. Let’s review America’s response to the assortment of international crises that have pressured our allies:

IRAN: Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni Gulf states are terrified of Iranian (Shiite) supremacy (territorial and soon nuclear); they well know that Iran has dreams of a establishing a Shiite crescent throughout the Middle East. America is supposed to be a staunch ally of Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Gulf states. The Saudi Royal family is said to be enraged at the President’s gullible approach to Iranian craftiness (regarding talks with Iran over its nuclear program), the Saudi’s are now looking elsewhere, to other nations with whom they have more in common (such as Pakistan).

SYRIA: The President drew a red line in Syria, and then evaded his word leaving Sunni rebel forces empty-handed in their fight against the Iranian-backed butcher Bashar al-Assad. Iran brought in weapons, mobilized Hezbollah and is now bringing in Afghans to fight in Syria—America continues to do very little—not even arming some of the more moderate rebel forces. The Shiite forces of Iran/Syria are winning the war against the Sunni rebels primarily because America has chosen to remain neutral—this is the conclusion of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Turkey (all Sunni dominated nations). The message to our Middle East allies is the U.S. will not back you as you oppose Iranian ambitions in the Middle East.

ISRAEL: The Netanyahu government has lost all confidence in Mr. Obama’s presidency. Israel estimates that Iran already has sufficient quantities of enriched uranium to produce five atomic bombs. As Netanyahu has said, the short-term nuclear deal the US and its allies signed with Iran last November only delays Iran’s bomb making capacity by six weeks. Israel is now looking toward improving ties with Russia.

EGYPT: When protests began in Egypt three years ago, rather than stand with its ally, President Obama turned his back on Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak (long-time American supporter) and sided with the Jihadist Muslim Brotherhood. The whole Middle East took note of the President’s flip-flop. Then more recently, President Obama cut off military aid to Egypt after Egypt’s ruler Fattah al-Sisi ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from running the country. The military stepped in at a time when the gross mismanagement and extremism of the Brotherhood had driven millions of Egyptians into the streets demanding an end to Brotherhood rule. Egypt is being chastised by the President for ousting the Muslim Brotherhood from power, even though the Brotherhood was strongly anti-American. Other Middle Eastern allies such as Saudi Arabia, Israel, Kuwait and Jordan are now asking when will the President do a U-turn in their relationship as he did with Egypt?

The Egyptian leader said that U.S. military aid was desperately needed to help Egypt fight Islamist terrorism in the Sinai peninsula and Jihadi training camps in Libya near Egypt’s border. Washington’s refusal to assist Egypt battle a strong militant Islamist insurgency in Egypt, and to help contain ongoing civil strife in Iraq, Libya and Syria, has created “fertile ground for religious extremism” that would be “disastrous” for both America and the Arabs—so stated the Egyptian leader General Sisi.

IRAQ & LIBYA: Middle East leaders and Israel say that President Obama has abandoned Iraq to the control of Iran. Al Qaeda’s has taken control of large swaths of land in Iraq—it is very much present in Syria and it controls portions of Libya.

AFGHANISTAN: Middle East leaders, Israel and Pakistan claim Washington is in the process of abandoning Afghanistan.

UKRAINE: The President spoke valiantly about self-determination– then refused to give Ukrainians arms to repel Russian troops massed upon the Ukrainian border. Under the 1994 BUDAPEST MEMORANDUM, Ukraine agreed to transfer all of its nuclear arms to Russia. In exchange, Russia, the US and the UK promised “to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine…if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression.” The treaty was simply not honored. Russia took Crimea (Ukrainian territory) enduring only a small slap on the wrist from America and the EU.

An Arutz Sheva [Israel National News] article asserts: “The lesson for Israel from Ukraine’s current plight, according to ex-Member of the Knesset Aryeh Eldad, is that Western guarantees of Israel’s security must never be trusted.

CHINA, JAPAN & PHILIPPINES: Chinese perceptions of American weakness are fueling the aggressiveness with which Beijing is pushing its domination agenda in the East and South China seas. Japan and China are edging toward war over a heated dispute regarding the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Both countries claim sovereignty over the Islands, which are near important shipping lanes and fishing grounds. The Islands are currently under Japanese control but are contested by the Chinese. “Due to the brutal Japanese occupation of China in the 1930s, sentiments over the status of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands run deeper in the Chinese psyche than any other territorial dispute in modern Chinese history, with the exception of Taiwan,” the International Crisis Group said in its recent report.

America has weighed in repeatedly on the side of Japan regarding the dispute. China has told America to mind its own business. Beijing demands that the United States respect Chinese national security, and to stop making “irresponsible remarks” about China’s claims on the islands. China is not afraid of the U.S.

Tensions in the South China Sea flared this month when China moved a giant oil rig into an area also claimed by Vietnam. The Philippines has accused China of building up its military in the Spratly Islands (which may contain significant oil and natural gas reserves). The Spratlys are strategically located near several key shipping lanes.

Both China and the Philippines claim sovereignty over the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. The Chinese navy seized control over the waters following a standoff in early 2012. That move has led to an intense breakdown in Chinese-Filipino relations ever since, with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III recently comparing China’s South China Sea policy to Hitler’s invasion of the Czechoslovakia in the years prior to WWII. The U.S. is perceived to be a tired superpower, its unwillingness to deal with international disputes is emboldening aggressive powers.

Some analysts are speculating that China’s strategy will be to seize all the islands in the South China Sea, one at a time, counting on the fact that no single military act would force a response out of Washington.

Thousands of years ago God chose ancient Israel to be His model nation—to act as an example to other countries. They were to keep the 10 commandments—this was to be the key to national greatness. As the Israelites entered the Promised Land, notice what Moses told them: “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. ‘For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for.’  whatever reason we may call upon Him?”And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? (Deuteronomy: 4:5-8)

Today, most Americans have rejected the laws of God. We have embraced immorality, and foolish behavior, and it is getting worse with no signs of repentance. Great punishment lies ahead because like Ancient Israel we have rejected God’s wisdom as displayed in His commandments.

As the United States becomes weaker other nations will seek to fill the leadership vacuum we leave behind. Dangerous miscalculations and aggressive behavior by our enemies will increase—the world will become even more unstable in the years ahead.

America...cannot be trusted (part 1)

Steven LeBlanc

05 19 2014

America’s friends have come to the conclusion that the present administration in Washington is good when it comes to tough talk and rhetoric but untrustworthy when it comes to protecting its allies against the aggressors of the world.

America has promised to stand strong against Iran, to confront China on its aggressive advance in the South China Sea, to back up Israel, and to punish Russia for its incursion in Ukraine. Various implied and stated promises to our allies have been either ignored or blatantly brushed aside. Red lines have been drawn only to be withdrawn.

The lesson here is that God expects people and nations to keep their pledges and commitments. Washington has failed repeatedly to honor its word, and its implied obligations with its friends [allies]—they have had enough!

Take note of Numbers 30:2: “If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word (this applies for international agreements as well). He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.”

UKRAINE
U.S. allies observe Ukraine, who relied upon US and UK protection against Russia, giving up its nuclear arsenal in the 1990s based upon an agreement. Ukraine now finds itself unarmed in a face-off with Russia, unprotected by the United States and Western Europe. In order to prevent nuclear proliferation, the United States and Great Britain forged a deal with Russia and Ukraine to eliminate the latter’s atomic weapons stockpiles. Under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, Ukraine agreed to transfer all of its nuclear arms to Russia.

In exchange, Russia, the US and the UK promised “to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine…if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression.” The treaty was simply not honored. Russia took Crimea (Ukrainian territory) enduring only a small slap on the wrist.

An Arutz Sheva [Israel National News] article asserts: “The lesson for Israel from Ukraine’s current plight, according to ex-Member of the Knesset Aryeh Eldad, is that Western guarantees of Israel’s security must never be trusted.

NATO, the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom, were expected to honor its treaty obligations and help Ukraine defend itself against Russian imperialism. History remembers Western Europe’s failure to support Czechoslovakia against Nazi aggression only emboldened Hitler. Appeasement did not prevent the Second World War. Appeasement is the tool of the day used by the U.S. in Eastern Europe.

When Russia made its move into Crimea note the Ukrainian prime minister’s visit to Washington, his government urgently requested military assistance. The Pentagon refused. It offered instead military ration kits. It was followed by Visa denials, and frozen assets for 11 people—a very weak response.

Whether the problem is Syria, Ukraine, Iran, Egypt or China– Washington’s Foreign Policy signals weakness. The President is short sighted, outright naïve when dealing with international conflict. Our allies are turning elsewhere to seek alliances and a sense of security because the message sent from Washington is that America is timid and no longer stands by its friends.

America’s “friends” have been watching Washington for the past few years and they don’t like what they see. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and the Gulf states see a President and Secretary of State that are given to tough rhetoric and platitudes, but see a decided lack of follow through and strength. Teddy Roosevelt, speaking of America’s approach to foreign policy, said speak softly and carry a big stick. The current administration speaks proudly then initiates sanctions and verbal reprimands that can easily be endured.

For the past 70 years America has been the protector of our allies, protecting smaller nations from regional bullies, but the last several years the U.S. has sent a very different message to our friends. The message is that we make promises, but our promises to you will ultimately be ignored.

Saudi Arabia
The King of Saudi Arabia is so angry with President Obama he cut short a visit with the President after only 2 hours of talks — no dinner — after President Obama made a special 2,300-mile rerouting from Europe to see him. Saudi dinners are a show of friendship and hospitality, no dinner was a clear signal from the Saudi leadership that they are fed-up with the President’s appeasement approach in Syria and especially with Iran.

The administration in Washington claims that by permitting Iran to undertake some nuclear activities it can convince the Iranian leadership to back off from their plan to develop nuclear weapons. Such gullible thinking has infuriated not just Israel but the Saudi leadership as well. Remember, Shiite Iran is an enemy of the Saudi Kingdom (Sunni). If Iran gets an atomic weapon a Middle East arms race will erupt. Saudi Arabia will then be forced to get a nuclear device of their own—most likely with the help of their ally Pakistan.

They Gulf States and Saudi Arabia are beside themselves with disgust as they watch the wide-eyed Americans get “handled” by the Iranians. Israel and the Sunni Middle East leaders view Washington as too willing to come to terms with Iran on the Iranian nuclear issue. The Netanyahu government has lost all confidence in the Obama presidency. Israel estimates that Iran already has sufficient quantities of enriched uranium to produce five atomic bombs. As Netanyahu has said, the short-term nuclear deal the US and its allies signed with Iran last November only delays Iran’s bomb making capacity by six weeks. [to be continued]…

Russia's Next Move

05 17 2014

Steven LeBlanc

Will a greater Russian threat materialize? Russia wants a buffer with states to the west of it friendly to Russia. For Russia, the deeper the buffer, the better. This is where the Ukraine fits in. Russia does not want a Ukraine that is developing friendlier ties with the European Union. What is disturbing, in view of limited American support against Russian assertiveness, the peoples of eastern and southern Europe such as the Poles, Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians, Serbians and Azerbaijanis are seeking new alliances. The word is out, America is only going to get involved so far, many of these nations in Europe will most likely be left on their own if Russia chooses to become even more aggressive.

Some nations are taking steps to protect themselves. Azerbaijan has made the decision to arm itself and looks for new alliances that can help in case Russia moves against them. A largely Muslim state in the South Caucasus, Azerbaijan serves as a transit route for U.S. troops in Afghanistan it is also a nexus for energy supplies destined for Europe, but it has close ties with Europe.

What we are seeing is that President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, their willingness to engage in assertive action, is simply not happening. Their response to Russia has been lukewarm. Europe lacks the will to enforce meaningful sanctions against Russia because it is too dependent on Russia’s natural gas. This leaves smaller nations vulnerable. Eastern European nations will seek security by making new alliances; they believe they cannot rely on America. Wars and rumors of war (Matthew 24:6), is creating a ripple of insecurity among the nations in Central and Eastern Europe.

American Debt and who owns it

Steven LeBlanc

Always good to remember Proverbs 22:7–The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. China and Japan hold a certain degree of power over America simply because they own a huge piece of our debt. The Nations of the world are deeply dependant upon one another—entangled in a Babylon of financial obligations and agreements.

05 07 2014

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