The First World War’s Relevance to Our Times

September 6, 2014

WorldWar1
The centenary of the outbreak of the First World War has been greeted with not much more than a yawn

by citizens of the West. Sure, there have been the obligatory documentaries, the reconciliation hugs by

the leaders of France and Germany and the commemorative ceremonies played out on that War’s most ravaged battlefields.

But for most, the war remains not even a distant memory. No man or woman who fought during that time is now alive and the events that took place between August 4,1914 and November 11,1918 have been vastly overshadowed by the outbreak of a far deeper conflict which engulfed the world 21 years later.

Yet to fail to recognize the significance of this date is to ignore what is probably the most cataclysmic event in world history, one that overturned a century of extraordinary human progress and set the political, economic, cultural, and social tone for the remainder of the century. Not a man, woman, or child born in that century or who is alive today remains unaffected by the consequences of the First World War and ignoring what its outbreak has to teach us about our own world is a costly mistake.

The First World War has been called a futile war, one marked by military ineptitude and diplomatic failures in which 10 million lives were sacrificed for no gain. Its most memorable slogans — “Make the World Safe for Democracy” and “Your Country Wants You!” have been regarded with hindsight as just facile and empty propaganda in which no one today much believes.

But what if they were true? What if the war, much like the much more decisively ended conflict which followed it, was really about the defense of a way of life and the shape of human progress? What, in fact, if the militant absolutism the Allied forces found themselves confronting in 1914, finds its mirror in some of the free world’s most significant challenges today?

Not a man, woman, or child born in that century or who is alive today remains unaffected by the consequences of the First World War and ignoring what its outbreak has to teach us about our own world is a costly mistake.

For we should make no mistake: in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the West is looking into the eyes of exactly the kind of unbridled militarism and reckless opportunism it confronted at the beginning of the 20th Century. Failure to meet it with force could bring disaster.

Before getting to the modern day however, it might help to examine the question of how it was possible for Europe to drift into a continent-wide conflagration in the first place, when so many seeming safeguards had been set in place by the Great Powers in order to avoid it?

Since the convention of the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and the establishment of the Concert of Europe — a traditional balance of power arrangement among the leading European nations — a major continental war had been avoided on multiple occasions through advanced statecraft developed by a series of brilliant leaders which included Prince Klemens von Metternich of Austria, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord of France and Lord Castlereagh of Great Britain, to be followed later in the century by others such as Lord Palmerston and Benjamin Disraeli. Together these men enforced a system that allowed no one nation to become too dominant in Europe so as to threaten the continental peace.

Both Palmerston and Disraeli in particular had witnessed the devastations of the American Civil War and well recognized how new technology made modern warfare likely to involve a terrible carnage. With booming economies, expanding trade, and growing colonial empires, there was no stomach among the 19th Century European leaders for the devastations of the Napoleonic Wars which had plagued Europe at the beginning of the century.

The drive toward lasting peace culminated with the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 which produced the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and the Convention with Respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land — all of which were designed to build safeguards against the outbreak of war or to ensure that in the event of war, military conflict did not descend into barbarism.

This is not to mention the familial ties of the European monarchs themselves. In a remarkable tangle of ancestral roots, the leaders of three of the Five Great Powers were first cousins, grandchildren of Great Britain’s Queen Victoria. They had known each other since childhood, referred to one another by their nicknames and regularly met for family events. Cousins, the conventional wisdom of the time argued, do not go to war against each other.

But there were forces at work which undermined the Concert of Europe and set in motion an inevitable collision of national interests. When we remember that the concept of war in the European mind was always associated with glory, the absence of it created something of a national itch in many European countries which could only be relieved by some exercise of martial spirit. Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, who had ascended the throne in 1888, embodied what he considered to be the protean Prussian legacy of German militarism which hearkened back to Frederick the Great and beyond that to the Teutonic knights and even further to the Huns who had sacked the Eastern Roman Empire. His efforts to build the German navy to a level where it could challenge Britain’s hegemony of the world’s oceans and strengthen Germany against the Slavic menace to the East was greeted with alarm by Britain and France who signed their own pact (the Entente Cordiale of 1904) and which was followed by an alliance with Russia in August 1907 — establishing the formidable Triple Entente.

The undisputed historical trigger for the First World War was the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. But Germany had been aggressively preparing for a wide-scale continental war for at least the previous eighteen months. In 1961, the German historian Fritz Fischer in his book Griff nach der Weltmacht (Germany’s Grab for World Power) sensationally revealed a formerly unknown diary entry of Admiral Georg von Mueller from December 8, 1912 which recorded an informal meeting of the German High Command with the Kaiser in which a continental war within eighteen months was planned. Army Chief of Staff Helmuth Von Moltke was even recorded arguing that “a war is unavoidable and the sooner the better.” Von Moltke, the diary entry concluded, was persuaded to postpone the war in order for the Navy to be better prepared for the outbreak of hostilities. Fischer buttressed his argument with the publication of the September Programme, a formerly unknown document drafted by the staff of the German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg in September 1914, which identified German war aims. These included the disarmament of France, the absorption of large parts of Belgium and all of Luxemburg within the German Empire; the creation of a buffer state of Poland ( which would remain permanently under German sovereignty), the expansion of German colonial assets across Central Africa and the institution of an economic association ostensibly egalitarian but actually dominated by Germany.

No such documents have ever been produced which display an equally self-aggrandizing and militant approach from the other major belligerents of the First World War.

If the Great War was then a German War, it leaves us with us with important questions about its inevitability and what it meant for the rise of Nazism. If Germany was bent on expansion and gaining its rightful place as a world leader and felt confined and hemmed in by the other Great Powers, could anything have stopped the Imperial German Army’s march into Belgium in August,1914 or at any time thereafter?

The answer is almost certainly no. Flushed with military confidence after its defeat of France in 1870; buoyed by the unification of the German states the following year; catapulted into the limelight as a world financial power by the Zollverein — its successful economic union — German nationalism was at a peak and the Germans — hierarchical, determined, autocratic, and with very little interest in the niceties of liberal democracy — saw no reason why their values and attitudes should not compete with Great Britain’s as the dominant values of the world.

The conflict between world views was not lost on Adolf Hitler nor his backers. Indeed, the Nazis seemed to have picked up the fallen banner of the Imperial Germany Army where it lay, advancing a set of values which competed directly with those of the democracies and which were propagated without shame.

The Nazis certainly learned some vital military lessons about subjugating restive populations from the Imperial Germany Army. The Kaiser’s little-remembered campaign against the Herero and Namaqua tribes in South West Africa in 1904-07 was the first true genocide of the 20th Century, executed with a methodicism which would have made the Einsatzgruppen proud.

And should anyone doubt the ideological link between Imperial Germany and the Nazi regime, let them then remember that only weeks after he was forced to abdicate, Wilhelm foreshadowed the moral abyss into which the German state would plunge just 14 years later. In a letter to Field Marshal August von Mackensen, on December 2nd, 1918, he denounced his abdication as the “deepest, most disgusting shame ever perpetrated by a person in history, the Germans have done to themselves… egged on and misled by the tribe of Judah…. let no German ever forget this, nor rest until these parasites have been destroyed and exterminated from German soil!” In the same letter, Wilhelm advocated a “regular international all-worlds pogrom à la Russe” as “the best cure” and further believed that Jews were a “nuisance that humanity must get rid of some way or other. I believe the best thing would be gas!”

Seen in this light, the First World War was a desperate conflict between two diametrically opposed concepts of world advancement. The struggle between these competing ideas and ideals would consume the world for the first half of the 20th Century and then continue into the second on on to the Cold War, the war with communism.

But having ultimately won a 75 year- long -war with fascism/totalitarianism, the West, perhaps exhausted by the toll it has exacted and with its self-confidence and morale significantly shaken, has been unprepared to confront the arrival of a third menace whose militancy threatens its survival. The similarities between Wilhelmine Germany and rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran — and the form of militant Islam it represents, bear review: The same sense of national entitlement; the same sense of deprivation of its rightful stage in world affairs; the same grievances against the dominant world power; the same provocative foreign policy; the same willingness to gamble recklessly on a military confrontation it is unlikely to win and the same determination to have its values replace those of its enemies as the dominant value system of the world.

Today, modern Germany has learned that it can exercise dominance without military conquest and its virtual suzerainty of Europe has been somewhat welcomed as a stabilizing influence on a continent that has otherwise lost its bearings. Iran and the satellite organizations it controls may well have to face total defeat and disarmament before it recognizes that it has the same opportunity.

The First World War, poorly fought, execrably settled, and memorialized for the wrong reasons, should today be recalled for what it was — a necessary war, fought justly over values as much as over territory and leaving us with the conviction that reckless militarism should never be ignored nor laughed off. While millions of our young men should not be condemned to die in muddy, lice-infested trenches, we run the risk of paying a far greater toll if we remain squeamish about recognizing a direct challenge to the value system upon which our civilization was founded and then failing to summon the military will to confront it.

(This article originally appeared in American Thinker.)


Leaving

September 6, 2014

The day of parting with my son grew closer.  He called me one afternoon and told me that he was experiencing some anxiety and that I might help.  I went right over to the house and entered his room. The open suitcases were filled to the brim with clothes, shoes, books.  We spoke and I asked him what he was nervous about.  He couldn’t really tell me.  All he could mutter, quietly was,” I am leaving….”

As I sat on his bed I felt a blanket beneath me, familiar to my touch. Yes, of course it was familiar – it was his childhood blanket. That light blue velvet covering, soft and frayed, received in his first week of life . The same one I would wrap him in as I cradled him to sleep.  The blanket that I had thought lost or discarded years ago.  Then I looked around the room and saw things I had not noticed in years –  the wan, discolored rocking chair, the white teddy bear, the blue and white whale.  All the little mementos of  childhood and adolescence gathered on the upper shelves – a silent jamboree of memories staring down, distraught, at my son’s bulging suitcases.

Leaving, he was leaving. Silly, sentimental father, so caught up in his own memories that he was useless to his son.  Someone had warned me years ago about this parents’  rite of passage, the moment that comes when by necessity we must let go.   I had scoffed at the time, thinking it would never apply to me. But as I sat on that bed, I suddenly saw my own mother and father standing at Melbourne Airport 33 years ago with tears in their eyes as I boarded a plane for London. Brash, flippant, eager for adventure, I was too focused on my own future to truly appreciate their heartbreak.   Somehow they must have known, what I may have already known: I wasn’t coming back – at least not soon.  And I remembered, that as I turned away from them and headed down the ramp, the words of a song I had nearly forgotten, floated through my mind, stinging me then and now with pangs of melancholy and remorse:

  “Leaving home ain’t easy………no, it ain’t ever easy…….on the ones you’re leaving home.”

Now, I too, have crossed the Rubicon.

And it ain’t easy.

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THE EBOLA-LIKE PLAGUE OF ANTISEMITISM SWEEPING THE WEST

August 21, 2014

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My parents, who have lived in Jerusalem for 22 years, recently met their new neighbors.  They are French Jews from Paris who describe themselves as refugees. ” We came to the conclusion that there was simply no future for us in France.  Jews are targets there and the government cannot and does not want to protect them. France is lost.”
 
Their message resonated with me as I returned to Israel from a  speaking tour of Southern Africa.  In South Africa I watched as President Jacob Zuma and many of his secondary ministers, fulminated about the international crimes of the Israeli government in Gaza.  In Namibia, a country with only a handful of Jews and with no previous strong record of antisemitic animus, television news programs consistently portrayed a one dimensional view of the conflict, failing entirely to present the context of Operation Protective Edge and castigating the worldwide Jewish support for Israel as the primary culprit.
 
In Ethiopia, where I stayed for two days, almost everyone I met seemed to think that Israeli war crimes deserved international sanction and that Jews should be made to pay reparations for the destruction of Gaza hospitals and educational facilities.
 
 In Australia, a country with a very strong record of governmental support for Israel, a cartoon in one of the country’s leading dailies depicted a hook-nosed Jew reclining in a chair marked with a Star of David casually using a remote to destroy Gazan property.
 
And In Germany, demonstrators in Berlin – and not just Muslims – could be heard yelling “Death to Israel”, and “Zionists are fascists, killing children and civilians!” and a Berlin imam was recorded using his sermons to ask Allah to kill the Jews “to the very last one,”.
In response, the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumnn said; “We are currently experiencing in this country an explosion of evil and violent hatred of Jews. We would never in our lives have thought it possible any more that anti-Semitic views of the nastiest and most primitive kind can be chanted on German streets. Jews are once again openly threatened in Germany and sometimes attacked.”
 
Throughout the world, Jews have felt the tremors of an upheaval that should be deeply unsettling if not shocking. For it is not simply Israeli policies which have been criticized.  Colleagues in Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, England, Italy and as far away as Iceland have reported unparalleled outbursts of antisemitic activity and sentiment in their countries.
 
The steep rise in antisemitism which has emerged in the streets of  the world’s capitals is a salutary reminder to us all of one of the abiding features of Western history: Antisemitism, despite the denials of governments and citizens – and our own self delusions, is a permanent feature of life in dozens of countries outside Israel that will not die. We fool ourselves into believing that it manifests only as a territorial claim or is some kind of residual spasm of a long cured illness.
 
For surely it is not. The disease is congenital and much like the Ebola Virus now sweeping  Western Africa  –  deadly and incurable. Despite the horrifying lessons of the Holocaust, the supposed safeguards of a powerful international human rights movement and the sanctimonious pronouncements of world leaders, the contagion of antisemitism has not been eradicated but persists in the minds of millions of people who remain convinced of a malevolent Jewish stereotype which threatens the peace of the world. 
 
If this is so, then where is it safe for Jews to live?
That is exactly the question that an Austrian-Jewish journalist reporting in 1895 on the polarizing anti-semitic trial of Alfred Dreyfus in Paris, came to ponder: “if France – bastion of emancipation, progress and universal socialism – [can] get caught up in a maelstrom of antisemitism and let the Parisian crowd chant ‘Kill the Jews!’ Where can they be safe once again – if not in their own country?
 
Theodor Herzl’s words ring in my ears as I sit in Jerusalem and write these words.  Despite whatever you read in the world’s newspapers or hear from sage voices in the commentariat, the Jews of Israel feel safe – a fact which has little to do with the use of advanced technology or the deployment of one of the world’s most sophisticated armies.  United as at no time since perhaps the Six Day War, the Israelis as individuals and as a country seem to have finally grasped the fact that no territorial surrender, no peace agreements and no humanitarian gestures will appease their enemies.  That is because they accept, better than we in the Diaspora ever could, that the war against them extends beyond their borders and beyond the Middle East.  It is an age old  war of extinction, driven by the the most pernicious form of human hatred and if they have to make a stand against it then they will do it in their own land, with their own resources and on their own terms. The determination to defeat the enemy and to make the State of Israel a true place of refuge for the Jewish people has contributed to a remarkable resilience and an unshakable faith in the future which has allowed life in most of the country to continue, to the greatest extent possible, as normal.
 
I had to wonder about this as I perused my emails mid-flight on my way back from Ethiopia.  
Familiar with my somewhat frenetic travel schedule, an Australian friend asked:  “Are you home yet – wherever that might be?”
 
As I touched down at Ben Gurion Airport , saw the Israeli flag fluttering  in the moonlight, watched the cars pass by with blue and white ribbons attached to their antenna and witnessed the bumper stickers and posters declaring an unwavering commitment to victory, without  hesitation I wrote back:
 
” Yes, I am home – and I am safe.”
 
 
Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance in Los Angeles and owns a home in the Old City of Tzfat in Israel. This piece appeared in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal and subsequently in the Australian Jewish News and the Jerusalem Post

Global Governance Utopianism and the Threats to Freedom

June 8, 2012

 

It does not take much to trace the lineage of the global governance movement.  Beginning  with the very first work on international law, written by Herman Grotius in 1623, down through the philosophical writings of Immanuel Kant and Karl Krause and to the mid- 20th century novels of H.G. Wells, a line can be drawn threading together advocacy of intellectuals and political leaders for the establishment of some kind of global authority to be placed in charge of governing mankind’s work and activities.

The growth of this movement springs largely from utopian notions of the perfectibility of the world – that mankind’s tendency towards violent conflict, the inequitable distribution of wealth and the degradation of the environment can only be cured by the pronouncements of a wise council of men who dictate how conflict is to be resolved and the methods by which the world’s assets are to be distributed.

 

The commonalities which bind together advocacy for global governance today are fairly clear:

  • A belief that the nation state is either obsolete or in imminent decline
  • A rejection of capitalist economies and the role of free enterprise
  • A profound distrust of common forms of human organization, including democratic self-government and the nuclear family
  • An acceptance of the idea that an international consensus exists that all nations and all peoples have common goals
  • An abiding contempt for all forms of organized religion
  • An unwillingness to brook opposition of any kind

Such a philosophy has brought the global governance movement into direct confrontation with constitutional democracy in this century.  For constitutional democracy is founded not upon collectivist ideals but upon the virtues of individualism and the ability of human beings to resolve their conflicts in a just and equitable manner. Constitutional democracy is neither statist nor authoritarian. It trusts in human nature, rather than rejects it and has its roots planted deeply in the belief that humanity has an elevated purpose tied to the existence of a force beyond itself.

Global governance advocates paint a pretty picture of a world where human happiness would be assured once differences between peoples – whether they be of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or ability – were eradicated.

But lets be frank.  Differences between human beings cannot be eradicated.  The collectivist  experiments of the 20th Century in the U.S.S.R and its satellite communist regimes failed miserably to create  happiness for anyone  except an elite few and resulted only in  the impoverishment of  once robust economies, the imposition of heavy regulation, the imprisonment of  “enemies of the State” and the mass murder of millions.

Given its provenance in the twisted notions of collectivism and the state control, it is little wonder to see Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the failed Soviet empire, become one of the leading lights of the modern global governance movement. His campaigns for a global environmental regime, based on the UN’s Earth Charter, disguise a more sinister agenda – the implicit overthrow of capitalist economies and the stripping of national sovereign rights.   No one should be surprised then when Gorbachev and his other environmental advocates call for the Earth Charter to replace the Ten Commandments as mankind’s governing moral code. Indeed, it is not beyond exaggeration to refer to Gorbachev’s environmentalism as a new form of religion in itself– but one naturally removed from any notion of the existence of a Supreme Being. 

Gorbachev’s activism is only the tip of the iceberg of a movement which has won supporters in the highest echelons of West’s intelligentsia, media and political classes.  The European Union, for example, today stands as a model of the transference of this ideal into practice. Today power in Europe has become largely centralized in Brussels, representative democracy is treated loosely as an after thought and the growth of a huge bureaucracy regulates everything from the price of tomatoes to day care for toddlers.

The United Nations has its own vital role to play in this growing movement and ideology. Its surreptitious program, Agenda 21, addressed extensively in AFA’s 2011  Big Footprint conference, calls for a range of changes to be made to human conduct and behavior by imposing strict regulation on everything from urban development to the exploitation of energy resources.  It has been adopted, often without a whisper of objection, by thousands of city councils, public schools and public utilities throughout the West.  Proudly promoting a ‘back to nature’ philosophy, it is as direct a threat to the independence of sovereign nation states as any other program or ideology..  .

Non-governmental organizations play significantly supportive roles in many of these developments.   So called humanitarian organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders, hide their profoundly anti-Western, anti-capitalist bias behind advocacy for the imposition of international humanitarian law on Western countries.  Little known to most citizens in the West, is the way international humanitarian law conflicts directly with certain constitutional protections and  how its adoption could significantly trammel the rights and constitutional protections enjoyed by millions around the world.

As this conference takes place, the battle against global governance is being fought most visibly in the struggle over who will regulate the Internet and who will control our seas.  The United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union( ITU) has made a claim that, given the international scope of the Internet, it should be the one  and only agency to monitor and control its access around the world.  But little known is that the drive to harness the Internet is fueled largely by authoritarian governments such as  China and Russia whose interests lie in curtailing information provided on the Internet and not increasing access to it.

In the current struggle over the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the U.S. is faced with intense international pressure to conform to certain international maritime standards which establish guidelines for businesses, the environment and the management of marine natural resources.   This pure example of global governance in action, would severely restrict most modern wealthy nation states from the development of resources close to their own shores in deference to Third World countries who are given a greater share of those resources and opportunities to harvest them.

Lawfare, the manipulation of domestic legal systems to secure political ends, is also becoming deployed as a key weapon in the global governance arsenal.   The movement to establish a universal jurisdiction by which foreign nationals can be sued and brought to court in a country where they have had no prior dealings, provides a view of the kind of world that could exist under a globally governed regime. It would be a world where  independent jurists and outraged citizens in one country would be free to interfere directly in the decision making of sovereign governments in another.  This was brought to light most powerfully when following the Lebanon War of 2006, Israel’s prime minister, military chief of staff and other political and military leaders were issued with summonses in Brussels.  There can be no greater example of the reach of global governance advocacy than this attempt to expand and impose a universal jurisdiction which eclipses the sovereign nation state’s right to self-defense.

 While mentioning Israel it should be noted that underlying global governance advocacy is the determination to bring strong independent nations to heel.  This is no more so than in the way both the United Stares and Israel are targeted for both human rights violations and territorial aggression.  While massacres take place in the Sudan, starvation overcomes the people of North Korea and death and destruction reign in the Congo, it remains these two democratic nations who are recipients of regular excoriation in the United Nations and in the reports of human rights organizations.  This so because  the  exercise of the right of  self-defense of these strong democratic nations stands as a significant obstacle to the imposition of a universal jurisdiction to monitor armed conflict. The demonization and diminishment of both has therefore become a key global governance strategy, often aided and abetted by academics and media personalities within those very same countries.

All of these threats combine to present the most significant challenges to western freedoms that we may have ever known.  The threat is so  because it is largely invisible and carries the imprimatur of an international consensus.  But we should not be gulled.  In truth there is no such thing as an “international consensus.” There are only nations who agree to cooperate, not for some greater global universal good but in their own self interest.   We should be warned that those proposing that nation states surrender their own sovereign rights in the interests of universally agreed upon values and standards are not advancing your interest nor mine, but their own. 

The battle to defend national sovereignty is a long and difficult one but the case can be made succinctly and is done so in brilliant works such as Jeremy Rabkin’s The Case for Sovereignty.  This conference is an attempt to join political leaders, major thinkers and media personalities from around the world in an attempt to thwart the rise of this movement and expose its true orientation and motives. And it stands firm in the belief that democratic representative government and the sovereign rights that accrue to it remains the best system for the management of human affairs ever devised by the human mind. 

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the coordinator of the Global Governance vs National Sovereignty Conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Greek Drama Has Lessons for the Western World

November 7, 2011

As Greek prime minister George Papendreou submitted his resignation to the president on Saturday, there were no cheers of exaltation rising from the streets of Greek cities.  Instead, there was only a palpable sense of dread, as the future looked  more grimly uncertain than ever. 

Papendreou, the scion of the country’s most prominent political family- whose father and grandfather had both served as prime ministers – became the latest victim of  the sentient notion that  Europe would be a harbinger of a new era for mankind – a place where conciliation would replace confrontation and where amity would replace division.

But the Greek political class on Saturday demonstrated that the new Europe would be a far more divided place than any European leader could have imagined sixteen years ago following the signing of the Maatricht Treaty.  One can only gasp in wonder as a country roiled by a one trillion euro debt and confronted with the snarling contempt of other major European countries, could not bring itself to recognize that without a unified voice which accepts the austerity plan imposed upon it by the European Union, the entire country could be engulfed in an economic cataclysm that would make German stagflation of the 1920s look like a Saturday afternoon game of Monopoly.

For what had collapsed by Saturday night in Athens was not only the prime minister’s center-right coalition but  the very idea of a unified Greek nation, one that believed that as a people and a country it possessed a common destiny and common purpose.  The failure of the two major parties to forge an alliance to stave off the worst financial crisis in the country’s history, is a telling sign of what will become of other European countries as they pass through exactly the same crisis in the coming twelve months. It is very difficult to fathom how a democratic country, faced with such unflinching and demanding partners – who control the very monetary lifelines necessary to keep their economy alive, could be so conflicted on what is the only possible course for it to take. 

But this is the face of the New Europe.  Given to years of lassitude, the Greeks, and most Europeans have no stomach for austerity.  Profligacy, social welfare, neoptism, corruption and a vibrant, fairly open black market, has produced a country where people don’t work much, retire young and take long vacations. 

The Greek model actually describes the bulk of Europe, where the work ethic has given way to the pleasure ethic and the lambent idea that government can always be counted on to bail out failed enterprises.  But what happens when the government has no money to bail out anybody and the source that it must rely on – namely foreign investment, remains skittish and uncertain about the country’s future?  What happens when no one – not the European Union, not the United States and not China – is prepared to say we believe in your future and we will continue to fund your debt?

What then happens is a complete collapse of confidence and a fatalism that grips everyone from the prime minister to the local fruit vendor.   That is what was on display in the streets of Athens on Saturday night.  No matter what happens with the dissolution of the government or new elections in the not-too-distant future, the crushing weight  of debt will be the overriding, ever present concern of whomever takes over the running of the Greek Republic.  

The Greeks have good reason to wonder who will ultimately control their fate.  Angeliki Martaki, a retiree quoted in the Los Angeles Times on Friday, summed up what many ordinary Europeans must be feeling about their future:  “All the Euro has bought us has been pain.  At least with the drachma, we were what we were: Greek.  Now, I don’t know what we are and who is in charge of our national destiny.”

I heard the same sentiments expressed to me in villages in England and coffee shops in Madrid.   A collapse of national purpose; the absence of great leaders who can rouse the population to work and save; the lack of a pervasive national sentiment boldly declaring” we are all in this together.”  Instead, as countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal progressively unravel, the citizens of these once great, independent countries will find themselves having to fend for themselves, with no one but the Gods to hear their cries of pain.

That idea – that soon there actually may be no one willling or able to come to the rescue – is a lesson that every citizen in the West should take to heart.


AFA’s Summer Conference- Big Footprint: Is Green the New Tyranny?

May 23, 2011

Sunday, June 12 – Monday, June 13, 2011

International Conference:

Big Footprint: Is Green the New Tyranny?

with:

    
Lord Monckton, Chris Horner, Steve Milloy, Brian Sussman

 among thirty other speakers

UCLA Faculty Center
405 N. Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, California

Click for details


Upcoming Event! Conspiracy Theory or Absolute Reality? The U.N.’s Agenda 21 and its Threat to Individual Freedom, Private Property and National Sovereignty

May 23, 2011

American Freedom Alliance presents an afternoon seminar

Conspiracy Theory or Absolute Reality?
The U.N.’s Agenda 21 and its Threat to Individual Freedom,
Private Property and National Sovereignty

with

Jennifer Lahl
Michael Shaw
President, Freedom Advocates

and


Col. Samuel Kastel
(Colonel in the IDF Reserves)

Sunday, May 29, 2011
2:00 pm – 8:00 pm
(including dinner)

Location: to be disclosed upon RSVP

Admission: $35.00

Parking: Free by Valet


An event in support of the AFA summer conference
Big Footprint: Is Green the New Tyranny?
Sunday June 12- Monday, June 13, 2011

Agenda 21 is the United Nations’ initiative to control the world’s resources under the pretext of environmental protection. Employing counterfeit science, it declares that a planetary catastrophe
resulting from human activity is well underway and that it can only be arrested by the surrender of material comforts, reduced energy consumption and a transfer of wealth. Agenda 21 has proliferated countless unelected bodies worldwide that dictate so-called environmental policy to governments, locally, nationally and internationally. With patient, incremental steps, often advancing beneath the radar of public awareness, Agenda 21 is the gradual implementation of global government, often referred to by its advocates as “The New World Order.” It seeks to dissolve the nation state, eliminate private property, and curtail individual freedom. Ultimately it envisions absolute control over every aspect of our lives.

BIOGRAPHIES:

Michael Shaw is a licensed attorney and CPA. He built a career in the development and operation of a multi-state self storage company. Today he is an abundance ecologist and the creator of Liberty Garden, a 75 acre coastal native plant oasis on the coast of Santa Cruz County. Michael’s primary focus is centered on guiding Freedom Advocates, a
tax exempt organization, that works to deliver the message that in America, government was designed to protect individual rights. This is in stark contrast to the globalist doctrine behind Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development (now adopted by the current U.S. Administration). Michael and his expanding team at Freedom Advocates explain how this agenda infiltrates our lives at the local level, and what we can do to stop it..

Colonel Samuel Kastel served with distinction with the Israel Defense Forces, participating in the 1982 Lebanon War and 2006 Lebanon War as well as in many aspects of Israeli intelligence. Today his work focuses on the attempts of NGOs and multilateral organizations to delegitimize the State of Israel, developing a particular expertise with regard to the threats emanating from the United Nations and multilateral
organizations. He is in the preliminary stage of investigating Agenda 21. He has already discovered that it is having a strategic impact on Israel from top down policies within the government and from hostile NGOs outside the government. He will share his recent findings.

Please respond to the American Freedom Alliance (310) 444 3085
or at adavis@americanfreedomalliance.org

Click here for AFA Lecture Series Page


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