Newsmax: Ghosts of Eastern Europe Still Haunt US Policy

The president is accused of acting lethargically over the crisis in Eastern Europe, advised by an overly cautious secretary of state regarding a part of the world that few Americans understand.

This was the situation in 1849 when 200,000 Russian troops crushed the democratic revolution in Hungary. The secretary of state became the future president, whose administration was often dubbed the “worst in American history.” This man was the Democratic President Buchanan.

In the 20th century, another Democratic president would be pulled into the Eastern European vortex of unrealistic expectations on the one hand and perceived false promises on the other. That president, Woodrow Wilson, was desperate for reasons to justify American military intervention against the new Soviet regime.

Meanwhile, our British and French allies were urging more aggressive action. Wilson led a rallying cry to save the “lost” Czech Legion who had sided with allies during World War I. In part, American troops intervening in Russia would ensure that the Czech allies made it safely home.

This half-hearted attempt to, as Winston Churchill stated, “strangle Bolshevism in its cradle” failed miserably.

A third Democratic administration made a fatal mistake. During the waning days of World War II, American troops made it to the outskirts of Prague but were forbidden from liberating the country due to the Yalta Agreement with the USSR.

The Yalta Agreement, ironically in Crimea, was governed by FDR’s appeasement to a Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. This is a decision that reverberates to this day. FDR’s unwillingness to stand against Russian/Soviet foreign policy aims constructed the snare that the United States still faces today.

Yalta ceded de facto control of Eastern Europe to Soviet aims, leading to their ultimate control by Moscow until 1990. This meant that the Soviet Union had achieved what Russian foreign policy for centuries could not, a western buffer zone against the west that included Ukraine, Poland, eastern Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, and the Baltic States.

It cemented in the Russian/Soviet mindsets their right to control the destiny of this region. This grand mistake, resting on the more minor errors made by Buchanan and Wilson, is the specter that has haunted American foreign policy for generations.

In essence, it doomed multiple generations of eastern Europeans to tyranny and abuse.

The last gasp of American foreign policy came under the new Republican administration of Dwight Eisenhower. Along with the Dulles brothers, one as secretary of state and the other as director of CIA, Eisenhower came into office preaching a policy of “liberation and rollback” to counter Harry Truman’s containment.

The problem was that Truman’s policy was equally based on liberation as it was on containment, and Eisenhower was never willing to transform rhetoric into reality.

The year 1953 saw anti-communist (and anti-Russian) uprisings in East Germany that were quickly squashed. In 1956, Hungary went into an open and successful revolution, breaking free of communist and Soviet control and declaring independence.

The idea of freeing Eastern Europe, including Ukraine and the Baltic, went beyond rhetoric. In 1947 the CIA’s Office of Policy Coordination began planning and training émigré units to be inserted into Eastern Europe with the ultimate goal of liberating them from communist control.

The first significant attempt to do this was Operation Valuable in Albania in 1949, which turned into a fiasco due to Soviet penetration of British intelligence. By 1950, The Ukrainian Resistance Army numbered 40,000 and was seen as an avenue for CIA assistance. Unfortunately, this also did not materialize into a success.

Nevertheless, the CIA continued to expand the program, eventually creating the Volunteer Freedom Corps (VFC), with aspirational strength of 250,000 Eastern European soldiers under American leadership. The VFC plan was given a considerable boost by events in East Germany in 1953. Thus, Operation Red Sox/Red Cap was born.

The CIA would use the VFC forces to create an insurgency and ultimately liberate Eastern Europe. The test occurred when Hungary successfully overthrew its communist government and temporarily pushed the Soviets out.

However, in the 11th hour, the Eisenhower administration decided that a total commitment to Red Sox/Red Cap could mean an all-out war, possibly nuclear in nature, against the Soviet Union. Consequently, Hungary was reconquered by the Soviets, and aside from the brief attempt by the Czechs in 1968, the region was doomed to Soviet control until 1990.

Thus, the checkered past of U.S foreign policy, especially the Yalta Accords, has placed the United States on a defensive posture that we are haunted by today. Americans should keep this in mind as we attempt to make decisions now that will create the conditions for the 21st century.

Only through robust and dynamic American primacy can American foreign policy be successful.

Newsmax: Another Scourge From Syria: Drugs That Back Hezbollah

I have written about the Syrian Civil war for over 10 years. Primarily, it is important to highlight two related catastrophes. The first is the immense death toll of civilians and world leaders’ general indifference to these deaths unless weapons of mass destruction were involved.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights estimates that there have been 350,000 civilians killed between March 2011 and March 2021. The number killed by chemical weapons is around 2,000, many of those happening after the failed Obama era agreement.

The second catastrophe is the insidious toxic triangle between a corrupt and evil Syrian government and her Iranian and Russian patrons. This allowed Iran to pursue her Shiite imperial designs and Russia to regain some of her Soviet-era influence in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

The second catastrophe is the insidious toxic triangle between a corrupt and evil Syrian government and her Iranian and Russian patrons

The latest installment of the tragic Syrian story revolves around a drug. The drug’s name is Captagon (fenethylline hydrochloride). It is an amphetamine the stimulates the central nervous system, making users feel euphoric, fearless, powerful and even creating a mentality of bloodlust.

How does this relate to Syria? As is well known by those who study foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs), there are direct links between FTOs, rogue regimes (like Iran, Syria, and North Korea), and drug cartels.

For example, it is believed that at least 30% of Hezbollah’s budget is from drug trafficking. A public relations campaign attempted to educate Americans who purchased narcotics during the Bush administration. By doing this, you are assisting the enemies of the United States who kill American soldiers.

Unfortunately, the following administrations have failed to continue to highlight this link to the electorate. In Syria, we add the element of Russian adventurism.

It is believed that at least 30% of Hezbollah’s budget is from drug trafficking

Syria’s Fourth Army division controls most of the Captagon factories in Syria, generating huge blood profits. The drug is often exported out of the ports of Tartus and Latakia, where the Russian military operates.

The Russians control the security of shipments out of these ports, and a Russian company, STG Engineering, facilitates the business of Syria’s Fourth Division. The Center for Operational Analysis and Research (COAR) reported that the Syrian-produced Captagon had a street value of at least $3.5 Billion in 2020. This would be five times more than the value of Syria’s legitimate exports.

It is also assumed that Iran’s client terror state, Hezbollah, whose past facilitation and use of the hashish and opium markets are also being used for selling and distributing Captagon. It appears that Hezbollah helps smuggle raw material for Captagon into Syria and helps to smuggle Captagon out of Syria to other locations. Hassan Daqo who has ties with Hezbollah and the Syrian Fourth Division.

Daqo, the “King of Captagon,” was arrested by Lebanese authorities in the Bekaa valley in 2021. He was accused of establishing a laboratory and then smuggling Captagon into Greece and Saudi Arabia.

Two administrations later, we must deal with the aftermath of collapsed American leadership due to timidity and incompetence

This should be of great concern to the United States and its allies for multiple reasons. First, it solidifies the toxic triangle between Russia, Iran, and Syria. Second, the profits can be used both to expand Syria’s military, including her weapons of mass destruction program.

Third, the profits can support terrorism. Fourth, it amplifies the cancer of drug availability on our streets. Finally, it is another example of a rogue country embracing a role as a narco-state.

The Syrian policy under the Obama administration was one of its worst foreign policy failures in an ocean of foreign policy disasters. Two administrations later, we must deal with the aftermath of collapsed American leadership due to timidity and incompetence.

This is simply another road marker that should teach American policymakers that we can avoid these political and humanitarian disasters through clear American leadership and primacy.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 18 January 2022.

Newsmax: Biden-Xi Exemplifies Bad Version of Theatrical Summits

There is pageantry and expectation related to summits between the United States and other powers. However, summits have usually produced serious policy decisions agreed upon conceptually by the principal players, whose specifics are worked out prior, during or immediately after by deputies.

Therefore, presidential administrations should be extremely cautious in using the word summit and even more careful in engaging them.

Summits have not often gone well for the West and, in particular, the United States. This is especially true of the Second World War conferences, especially the agreement at Yalta in the winter of 1945.

Summits, like the one at Yalta, become entities in and of themselves. These summits create an atmosphere of national and worldwide expectations that can never deliver.

This momentum leads foreign policymakers, particularly American ones, to absorb a mindset that they must engage summits and produce something. President Ronald Reagan boldly held the line at Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1986, rather than give in to the evil empire.

The age of U.S. and Soviet summits, starting in 1955, became benchmarks for American foreign policy. Unfortunately, these rarely served the interests of the United States.

Examples here were the Nixon/Brezhnev summit of 1972 with the disastrous ABM treaty, hampering U.S. national security for decades or the morally bankrupt Helsinki Accords of 1975. The 1988 Moscow Summit, hailed by some as very tangible diplomacy, resulted in the finalization of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, which Russia continues to violate.

However, the summit created an environment that this flawed agreement was a sacred cow that could not be challenged. Finally, a host of Middle East-oriented summits resulted in declarations of peace and stability, primarily ignored once the pageantry was over.

As bad as many of these summits were, there was at least some attempt at producing results. This is why the Biden-Xi summit is so baffling. One would be hard-pressed to create a list of anything productive. As bad as many past summits have been, this one is a theatrical version of bad summits.

The news was so desperate for a takeaway that they focused on renewing journalistic visas and establishing so-called “guard rails.” What were these rails guarding?

The administration could have used this opportunity to make a clear defense of Taiwanese’s sovereignty and democracy. It could have ended the bluster-inducing policy of “strategic ambiguity.”

Instead, a November 23rd freedom of navigation operation by the USS Milius now passes for being strong on China. This is hardly a substitute for actual strategy, and if anything, emboldens the Chinese.

In other words, if this is the best we can come up with, how serious are we about security in the region? This could easily be compared to the days when America stood clearly against Chinese expansionism, as Eisenhower used nuclear weapon diplomacy in both 1954 and 1958.

There has been much discussion about the summit regarding the “one-China policy.” The United States has never accepted China’s definition of the so-called “one-China policy.”

The United States has consistently refused to recognize the PRC’s sovereignty over the Republic of China on Taiwan. The critical diplomatic word in the original language was “acknowledge.”

The U.S. position has been that we acknowledge the Chinese position that Taiwan is part of China. You and I can acknowledge that you believe you are the god-emperor of Dune, and that is where the conversation will end.

If one looks at this from a strategic lens, the U.S. can often do more harm to itself by participating in hollow summitry than in no summits. The word carries diplomatic baggage and creates expectations of serious results.

The nature of the discussion that was recently had may be the stuff of mid-level diplomats, and that is a stretch.

As long as American foreign policy is driven by false expectations and worships at the altar of deal-making at any cost, engaging in summits that are nonstarters from the beginning is exponentially dangerous when credibility is being questioned. Engaging in summits with a morally bankrupt tyranny that seeks both global and beyond earth domination is a prescription for disaster.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 29 November, 2021.

NewsMax: How Christopher Columbus Can Help America Today

Columbus Day 2021 mostly went unnoticed. The holiday, once an iconic staple on the American calendar, has descended into apathy or antipathy. Those Americans with Italian family names (notice I did not use the woke hyphenated “Italian-American”) argue that it is the only holiday celebrating Italian heritage in a country where they accounted for over 10% of American soldiers in both world wars.

Although attacks on Columbus Day are only secondary attacks against those with Italian names, the depth of the hatred of Columbus has darker roots.

The hatred for Columbus is often justified in some minds by the excesses engaged in by European colonization. This includes the laundry list of human rights abuses and exploitation that occurred during the Age of Exploration and Discovery.

The center of gravity of this criticism emanated from Howard Zinn’s, A People’s History of the United States, a Marxist, distorted, ideologically driven fiction designed to belittle American civilization.

Zinn was not demonizing Columbus merely because he represented everything Zinn hated, namely Christian civilization, but felt that if he could bring Columbus down, he could cause a domino effect through the panoply of American history. Destroy the first American hero, and you poison all the fruit from that tree.

In other words, by destroying Columbus, you have light lifting when it comes to Washington and Lincoln. Zinn and many modern academics embrace an Orwellian view of the universe that is so driven by a monolithic ideology that it easily rivals the most intense religious zealotry.

It should go without saying that Columbus represented his time, and any attempt to use a 21st-century yardstick is childish at best and dishonest at worst. Further, it reduces his achievement to nothing.

This week, Star Trek merged with reality as the actor William Shatner went into space.

Star Trek of the mid-20th century was the fictional Columbus story of its time. Thus, the hero of many a boy from both the boomer and Generation X cohort, Captain James T. Kirk, became a new kind of hero as the 90-year-old William Shatner did on October 13.

Kirk/Shatner are heroes in a society engaged in a civil war about the role of heroes. Columbus was a hero.

He defied the thinking of his time, defied the odds, defied the tyranny of small minds, and through his faith in God, embarked on an adventure that changed the entire course of human history for the better.

His voyages led to the colonization of America (named notably after another Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci) and the creation of the United States. Columbus seized his destiny, and no attempt by lesser mortals who are best known for virtue-signaling can change that.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan said it best: “He was a dreamer, a man of vision and courage, a man filled with hope for the future and with the determination to cast off for the unknown and sail into uncharted seas for the joy of finding whatever was there. Put it all together, and you might say that Columbus was the inventor of the American dream.”

This is represented by the iconic photograph taken in 1992 of replicas of the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria sailing by the Kennedy Space Center launchpad.

America stands at the crossroads of a new age of discovery, exploration, and expansion. The new distant shore is the Moon and Mars. We are in this race, as Spain was with Portugal in the 15th century, and the U.S. was with the Soviet Union in the 20th century.

Twenty-first century America is in a race with a myriad of potential adversaries that want to create a new order of control by seeking dominance in space. It will require America to harness the heroic qualities of Columbus, unabashedly, to emerge victorious, not only for itself but for all free peoples.

This piece originally ran on NewsMax on Friday, 15 October 2021.

NewsMax: The Crisis Makes the Man

September 11, 2011 will be remembered and commemorated for many reasons. Most in the nation will focus on those killed and those who risked all during those first few hours and days.

America was blessed that it had the exact right president for this same period in time.

As anyone who studies this period knows, President Bush was offered the easy way out, following “on-the-shelf” plans to retaliate with cruise missiles, limited airpower and some possible special forces operations.

He chose to reshape American national security, and the current administration has squandered all that was achieved.

Presidents are judged great by their ability to handle national security crises. They are equally judged disastrous by the same yardstick. We do not assess any president great on any other topic.

Historically, a majority of presidents have faced national security crises, and all modern ones have. Presidents McKinley and T. Roosevelt successfully met the massive stress of America entering the stage as a great power.

Taft, Wilson, Coolidge, and Hoover all botched their turn at bat successively with the Philippines, World War I, Mexico and Japan. The next, Roosevelt (FDR) struggled with a domestic national security crisis at home and a growing threat abroad.

Johnson and Carter could never come to grips with using American power because they had little understanding of the ultimate goal.

Presidents Truman, Reagan and G.W. Bush illustrated how a great man could come into his own as a great president facing existential threats to the United States that went far beyond other national security crises, akin to a degree to what presidents Washington and Lincoln had done before.

We have seen our share of contemporary disasters with Clinton, Obama, and now President Biden. The common thread goes well beyond political party and plumbs the depths of the roots of American ideology.

If a president rejects his nation’s underlying anchor and rudder, how can he be expected to steer the ship of state? Politics runs downstream from culture, and culture runs downstream from faith.

Presidents who reject the absolute world of Judeo-Christian good and evil can hardly be expected to have a moral compass regarding national security decision-making.

This explains why many of our contemporary presidents have been unable to make the right decisions regarding any particular crisis. However, it also helps to explain why there is no consistent and credible direction.

All of the presidents who fail at national security had little interest in American grand strategy. They did not embrace an over-the-horizon picture of where America needs to be in five, 10, 25 or 50 years.

They had lost faith in America because it is doubtful they ever believed in America to begin with.

Let us dismiss the notion that America is defined by its diversity, cited by so many in academia and the media. This is the most self-destructive lie out there.

It is precisely the opposite; very specific values define America that anyone can ascribe to regardless of race or ethnicity. It is here that many American presidents lost faith.

They lost faith in America’s destiny, its exceptional nature that emanated from God, and therefore its mission. They ran scared from such talk for fear that they would be accused of suggesting that American civilization was superior, losing sight of the fact that American values are as universal as they are divinely inspired.

Some of these values would have avoided the worst of what we are witnessing in Afghanistan. Namely, America should never abandon the innocent, its own, or its allies. It never shrinks from a conflict; it imposes its will, not because it can, but because it is in the right.

9/11 reminds us of the role of the president. First and foremost, he is armed with faith in the greatness of America, enabling him to handle national security crises and ensure American success in the future.

This is the fundamental job of the president. There is nothing else that should interfere with that primary task.

If a president fails here, he fails always and forever.

This article first appeared on NewsMax on Friday, 10 September.

Newsmax: Sophomoric US Foreign Policy Lacks Strategic Vision

The shame of Afghanistan looms.

Twenty years of blood, sweat, and tears are lost not because of American involvement but lack thereof. Today is the day that a wholesale revaluation of American foreign policy is needed.

The following sentiment may anger more than it heartens, but the truth exists regardless of numbers or popularity.

The United States has not had a coherent and strategic foreign and national security since President George W. Bush.

Twelve years is a long time for a ship to be without an engine, a rudder, or an anchor.

Instead, it has been the strategy of Richard Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman,” (“Der Fliegende Holländer”)  going nowhere — shrouded in mystery.

I don’t want to confuse the reader.

There have been some good and specific national security policies and many more bad ones during this time.

A good individual policy, such as President Trump’s decision to move the American embassy to the rightful capital of Israel, Jerusalem, is not the same as a strategic vision.

We can all look at those numerous policy decisions and make judgments about whether or not they advanced American interests or not.

However, a series of good or bad policies on individual, often disparate issues, is not a strategy that engages American interests with trajectory, velocity, or destination.

When they are demonstrated, these strategic visions are expressed in grand strategy prescriptions known as Presidential doctrines.

We have had 16 presidents out of 46 that have come close to having doctrines of any kind.

Seven of these doctrines can be called successful, and two were mixed.

Seven more had the moniker of doctrine, but little else.

These seven successful doctrines, these strategic visions that served American grand strategy, shared many variables.

They all had a full-throated defense of American exceptionalism at home and abroad, the desire for military primacy, the promotion of democratic values, and a style of warfare that promoted total victory without boundaries.

The apex of this success occurred under the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. In short, both Republican, conservative, Christian presidents melded the severe nature of hard power politics, advancing American vital and national interests, with her classical liberal values of democracy promotion, human rights, and the Christian view of the inherent value of the individual and their liberty.

The favorite mantra of President Bush during the war years of that time was when he expressed the “non-negotiable demands of human dignity.”

President Obama reveled in defeatism and declineism.

If one is to call it that, his doctrine was expressed in “leading from behind,” perhaps one of the top ten most torturous phrases created in the English language.

It was the singularly worst presidency in American history, with the possible exception of James Buchanan. President Trump fixed some of the problems of this administration and attempted an American First strategy.

Still, it was so focused on looking inward that it failed to understand that American security has always depended on the generosity of her footprint abroad.

Realists have always understood this, but they have been unable to realize that only when American power is melded with American ideals does an overall American strategy succeed.

The “lessons learned” (another sophomoric phrase) over Afghanistan will first be about creating a cover for individual decisions, blame assigning, and then hand-wringing about how we should never have been involved to begin with.

If we wish to avoid the post-Vietnam demon from being summoned, a serious offensive by conservative internationalists (not globalists) must not only be proclaimed publicly, but the conservative internationalists need to retake control of the Republican Party.

Afghanistan has played a strategic role for the great powers for centuries.

During the 19th to 20th centuries, this was primarily played out between the British and the Russians. In 1979, the Soviets invaded and took over for Soviet foreign policy goals.

This led to the rise of the Taliban and their eventual victory, creating a Theocratic dictatorship that granted a safe haven to the enemies of the United States, most infamously al-Qaida.

The Bush administration knew that unless you changed the regime in Afghanistan, it would continue to be a safe harbor for terrorism.

The Bush doctrine was centered on four pillars: preemption, prevention, primacy, and democracy promotion.

It melded realism and liberalism and offered a strategic vision for the future.

It was the only strategic vision that upheld American interests with American values.

The Obama vision did neither.

The failure of the United States in Afghanistan and almost in Iraq was not that America intervened. It was that America allowed too much independence too quickly. Germany and Japan were models of successful American intervention.

First, you win the war, then establish full security, next create foundations and institutions, and finally remain with a large enough force to ensure the ground gained.

If Germany and Japan were models that took about a decade to achieve, what did people think would be the case in Iraq or Afghanistan?

Certainly not twenty years, and indeed not if you failed to establish security with overwhelming force.

In the end, American foreign policy can’t be measured for years or even decades.

The currency of alliances is credibility.

Unfortunately, this coin has been significantly tarnished by the decisions made now.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 17 August, 2021.

Newsmax: Christians in the Culture Wars: Root and Branch

For decades I have taught, written, and spoken about international affairs and national security. I have written multiple books, journal articles, and public press articles on issues ranging from North Korean nuclear weapons, al Qaeda and terrorism, and strategic space policy.

Occasionally I have written about so-called “culture-war” topics, such as the malevolent nature of woke counter-culture, the strange obsession with the darker side of modern epics such as the empire in Star Wars, and often about issues of human rights and persecution, especially that of Christians.

In 2015 I coined the phrase “red puritanism” long before the word woke entered the mainstream. It referred to an intolerant, humorless creed couched in a self-serving relativism that was primarily directed at the heart of western civilization.

However, as important as all of the topics are concerning national security, one must be reminded of the root and not continuously focus on the branch. It was this that finally pushed me to write a book I have been thinking about for decades: The International Relations of the Bible, published by Posthill.

This venture was in many ways the culmination of my thinking that we need to return to the headwaters.

I am often a participant in discussions, conferences, and research that drill down into specific policy options and recommendations. When someone is droning on (a common occurrence with both academics and policymakers), I let my mind and spirit reflect on matters much more important.

As someone who has devoted their entire career in one way or another to American national security, I wonder if my colleagues think about why this is so important. Those of us who are open conservatives often follow the leftwing down the black hole of policy minutiae.

We and I are just as guilty of this. We get enraged at the left’s willingness to sacrifice American interests for their own immaturity on almost every major issue; we forget the importance of America as a whole.

We argue about their attacks on American foreign and defense policy, their acquiescence to America’s adversaries, and their misguided views on diplomacy that we forget what is really at stake. When one does that, one realizes how marginal and misguided secular-leftist ideology really is.

I would encourage any reader who cares about this country and his or her relationship with God to think about this issue in the following way. The United States was created through the hand of God, gifted as a land for Him to shape the destiny of mankind.

God inspired Christians to carve out from the wilderness a place for Him to be worshiped free from the control of others. He stretched forth his spirit in writing the Mayflower Compact, the first of our American state papers.

“Having undertaken for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country,.. do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together in a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony.”

It is the foundation of our nation, and any deviation from this is a deviation from the covenant of this New Jerusalem.

This was entirely reaffirmed in the most pivotal of all of our pillars, the Declaration of Independence. It was here where we pledged our collective loyalty to the absolute value of God’s will through natural law. It was here that the United States committed itself to a clear American identity that transcended ethnicity, race, or gender that was starker and more demanding than any other nation.

In an exact opposite of the false leftist narrative, American identity is crystal clear and sharper in how it defines itself with its submission to God’s will and through his divine hand granting mankind with life, liberty, and property.

This all comes with a warning that the international relations world of the Bible teaches in unambiguous terms. Each time the people of Israel rebelled against God’s will through the worship of false idols and doctrines, they were severely punished by God removing His hand of protection.

This culminated in an ancient apex when God transformed the persecutors of the faith and made Rome into the great evangelizer of the faith.

American national security is important, and our vital and national interests are critical, but they are only essential because America is the defender of Western civilization, culture, and tradition. Western civilization is only important because it is below the headwaters of the faith.

God blessed what we call western civilization by making it His instrument for what is good and right in the world, and America is the champion of that. Any time this is corrupted by those who wish to use it for ill or those seeking to destroy it, American civilization will suffer.

This should serve as a reminder to Christians that they are either an active participant in this clash, or they are a passive enabler for the other side. Edmund Burke, the forefather of all conservative thought, once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Each time our adversaries can persecute the innocent, each time God’s name is erased from our schools, each time we cede ground to another power, it is not only an American failure; it is a failure of any Christian who has retreated from the world.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 19 July 2021.

Newsmax: It is US Duty to Lead in Space Technology

As I have previously written, dominance in space will determine dominance on earth. In order to silence flawed thought from the start, one needs to understand the following premises.

First, space has been and is being militarized, with or without the United States. Second, the new space race based on geo and astropolitics is already under full throttle.

Third, Russia and China are making aggressive moves while the E.U. has been relegated to a state of passivity and chaos. Each year that passes, the space race will overshadow conflict on Earth to determine the winner on Earth.

Fourth, there will be a pivot point of no return at some point and there is much speculation on this. In other words, there is a future date whereby any nation that is not in the prime position will be unable to attain it and will be relegated to a peripheral or tertiary power.

This race will first be determined by will. Second, it will be determined by strategy. Third, it will be determined by a synthesis of sound economic policies and the securing of strategic technologies.

One of those technologies that the United States needs to develop is called Superconductor-based Magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters, known as SUPREME.

One of the massive problems for utilizing, exploring, exploiting and conquering space is the cost of transportation. Ultimately, the ability to move cargo and material from the Earth, the moon, Mars and beyond will determine who wins the military and economic space domain.

There are two primary systems for providing propulsion, chemical and electric. Most of the readers are familiar with chemical, having witnessed the space programs of NASA and companies like SpaceX.

These chemical systems push high thrust, but at the cost of increased fuel consumption, use around 2/3 of the spacecraft for fuel while being cost-prohibitive when trying to carry large amounts. On the other hand, electric propulsion is much more energy-efficient but falls short on thrust and maneuverability.

A new alternative, SUPREME using argon gas (100 times less expensive than the current xenon), can be one of the game-changers for the new space economy. The savings to transporting goods is literally astronomical when one compares transport to the moon.

Compared with chemical propulsion (think space shuttle or SpaceX), savings of up to $1.3 billion per cargo transfer from Low Earth Orbit (LEO, below 1,200 miles) to the moon.

Compared with conventional electric propulsion technology like the Hall Effect Thrusters (current electric propulsion), the savings can be around $100 million.

When we look at the case for Mars, the savings would be even higher, up to $10 billion compared with chemical propulsion and up $350 million compared with electric propulsion. Further, MPD is recognized as the most compatible technology to be used with nuclear reactors.

This system would be most beneficial for cargo transport, satellites for secured communications, asteroid mining, human exploration, space tugs and ultimately nuclear-powered ships.

One of the leading companies, Neutron Star Systems, winner of the New Space Business Plan Competition at the New Worlds Conference in Austin, Texas, is developing this technology right now and is promoting its relevance for security and defense, not just an economic one.

Founder of Neutron Star, Manuel La Rosa, put it this way, “SUPREME technology offers a unique opportunity to build in a platform that is scalable over a wide range of power and that it can serve as the standard for supporting operations not only in near-Earth domain but also in the moon, Mars and other planets of the solar system, it is of paramount importance that this technology is developed and commercialized. The USA is the only country in the world that offers the necessary conditions to successfully develop this technology.”

MPD is one of the many new space technologies that the United States will need to develop to continue its preeminence in space and prevent adversaries, not only to itself but also of democratic values from dominating.

The beneficiaries of these new technological and engineering marvels are not just the private enterprises that produce them, but the American entrepreneur and consumer who will have a new frontier to profit by, protected by the United States and her allies.

THis piece originally ran on Newsmax on 13 July 2021.

Newsmax: Israel-Palestinian Conflict Proves Nothing New Under the Sun

Death, violence, turmoil, strife and fire reigning down from the sky are the current headlines from the Middle East. It should strike no one as surprising that the roots of this chaos are historical, but it may surprise some readers how far back this mayhem goes.

One of the most exciting ways I have drawn parallels in foreign policy in my new book, The International Relations of the Bible, is through a story about CIA officer James Fees and then-National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger.

The year was 1973, the same year as the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) War, where Fees informed Kissinger that a memo existed detailing the turmoil in the Middle East, including the problems in the Sinai and Iranian expansion into places like Yemen.

Kissinger was shocked. He assumed someone was leaking classified information until Fees revealed to him that the memo was written in 700 B.C. We are reminded of the book of Ecclesiastes 1:9: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”

In 2021, we see the parallels of all three events, the one from 700 B.C., from 1973 and this week. The same geopolitical entities that shaped the Middle East for millennia continue to do so now.

Iran was the root of the problem in 700 B.C. and is the number one sponsor of Hamas today. The strategy is also the same; the Arab armies used a religious event to surprise attack Israel in 1973 and Hamas began its rocket barrage around Shavuot.

In another parallel to 700 B.C., my mind went back to a counter-terrorism conference I was part of in Israel in 2009, where one of the speakers said, “If Yemen is set on fire, the Gulf will burn.”

International relations dominate the Bible and, through God’s hand, determined the fate of the Jewish people and Israel today. Whether it was the Babylonian and Egyptian Empire, the influence of Greek Hellenism or the critical role of the Romans, international affairs are an omnipresent backdrop.

There can be no story of Exodus, no Babylonian captivity, no consistent crossroads of war, no publicans or Roman governors, no judgment by Pontius Pilate and no St. Paul’s story as a Roman citizen, without considering the role of international affairs.

A few examples highlight the multi-millennial depths we must extract to understand the events in the Middle East today. The battles between the Hyksos and the Egyptians set the stage for enslavement and the Exodus. The Jews engage in crusades against heathen kingdoms such as the Hittites, Amalekites and Canaanites.

Israel’s geopolitical situation was comprised of a three-way division that arguably still dominates the Israel-Palestinian conflict today. The first area was the coastal plain, which evolved into a more cosmopolitan, trade-oriented and worldly.

Second, there was a hilly northern region dominated in part by the harder, warlike Galileans. It was where invaders would be funneled into the Megiddo plain (Armageddon).

Lastly, two deserts helped to protect Israel from invaders. The problem area for Israel primarily came from the north, which provides few natural barriers except for the Litani River.

Israel was an international affairs convergence zone for any land empire expanding southward or eastward. The period in the Bible where a unified Kingdom of Israel exists dates from circa 1020 B.C. to 930 B.C. This encompassed the kingships of Saul, David and Solomon.

The Philistines (where we get the word “Palestine”) were warlike and pagan people. They occupied Canaan and posed an existential threat to Israel. This is how far we must reach into antiquity to understand the roots of today’s events where words like rockets and iron dome replace spears and shields.

There were attempts by some Jewish rulers to enter the great game of international politics by trying to play Egypt and Assyria off each other, often becoming vassals of one or the other. This was further exacerbated by the enmity between the northern and southern kingdoms.

The period where biblical international relations focused on the Kingdom of Judah showed a dangerous typology of international affairs and the Jews. It was one where there was a rebellion against God and a miscalculation in foreign affairs, where the people were crushed and the kingdom despoiled.

This Persian period illustrates another typology, the Persian model, where the Jewish people allied themselves with a greater imperial power in exchange for autonomy. The Persian Wars that liberated the Jews were also the wars that would lead to the downfall of the Persians and the conquest of Israel by the Greeks.

The Hellenization of Israel and the reaction against it serves as one of the most telling aspects of the Old Testament and international relations. The Jews, who had been favored subjects of the Persians, fell under the Greek world. This led to the establishment of larger Gentile colonies, which were often populated by Greek veterans.

Great power conflict in international relations again determined the fate of the people of Israel. They were caught between two Greek empires due to Alexander’s death and here is where a new player emerges: Rome.

Civil war among the Jews played a huge role during this period and their attempts to ally Rome on one side or another was another point of international affairs history that did not end well for them.

It was ended only by Roman intervention by Pompey the Great in 63 B.C, who was frustrated with all Jewish factions. When these factions attempted to resist Rome, Pompey became even more aggravated. This led to his decision to take Jerusalem and incorporate what would now be known as Judea into the province of Syria.

Rome was now the master of the people of Israel. Four hundred years pass between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. Many Christians term this period the intertestamental time.

The entire New Testament revolves around Jesus, who is born, lives, dies and is resurrected during Roman rule. It is, therefore, impossible to explain the international relations, foreign policy and diplomacy of this period without a complete understanding of Roman rule.

Three factors led to the Romans dominating the region. The first was the aforementioned civil war, where both sides invited them in to restore order; the second was the dissolution of the Greek empires and last was the rise of Parthia (Iran).

The biblical lands changed hands between Parthia and Rome. They were caught up not only in the Roman-Parthian conflict but also in Rome’s civil wars following the assassination of Julius Caesar.

The international relations world changed in 31 B.C. due to the Battle of Actium, where Octavian triumphed. It secured the Roman Empire for the Julio-Claudian dynasty, changing Rome into an imperial monarchy and becoming the reigning superpower on the planet.

The New Testament begins under the reign of the first Roman emperor, Augustus. He was the emperor at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. Augustus ordered the census that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem under the authority of his governor, Quirinius.

The ministry of Jesus occurs during the Roman occupation and the shadow of the Parthians. The trial of Jesus must be seen in the context here described. Rome looked through a grand strategy lens, with order being the primary goal.

Rome would initially have had no interest in a Jewish religious leader that did not preach violence or revolution. Pilate would ultimately be recalled to Rome. The trial he presided was the most important legal trial in history, including its impact on international affairs.

The end of the Bible and international relations ends with the coming Great Revolt of the Jews. The city finally fell in 71 A.D, fulfilling the prophecy made about Jerusalem by Jesus.

The end of the revolt concluded with the destruction of the Temple, the very Temple at the heart of the conflict this month. This resulted in the diaspora of the Jewish people and the destruction of a Jewish homeland until the re-creation of Israel in 1948.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 20 May 2021.

Newsmax: Free Trade Is More Than Trade

Lost in the desert that is now called public discourse regarding trade are the nontrade benefits of free trade arrangements.

Like so much that is polarized about American politics, the extreme camps dominate the public discourse. We have taken the complex universe of trade and attempted to box all positions into either “Free traders” or “Protectionists.”

It is granted that extremists on both ends usually can be revealed easily since their positions on economics supersede the nation’s needs. Free trade extremists, acolytes of the religion of globalization, would sacrifice national security interests for profit. At the other end of the spectrum, extreme protectionists would ensure that failing industries, that would eventually hurt the nation, continue under government largesse.

Often lost in this swamp is one of the principal benefits of actual free trade, which increases security and diplomatic power. The common-sense approach realizes that free trade, which is based on mutual benefit, secured against government corruption, predatory pricing and lending, dumping and over-regulation, is a net positive.

Needless to say, China engages in all of those harmful practices, making it the most flawed example of free trade on the planet.

One free trade agreement that would knit together economic, security, diplomatic and cultural alliance is the one between the U.S. and the U.K.

One of the potential positive outcomes of Brexit is to reignite the need for this economic union. What comes to mind is Winston Churchill’s famous quote of 1940, “We must be united, we must be undaunted, we must be inflexible. Our qualities and deeds must burn and glow through the gloom of Europe until they become the veritable beacon of its salvation.”

Many economists have focused on the failed attempt from 2013 to 2016 to create a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), which failed primarily due to the EU overregulation and protectionist practices in areas such as agriculture and automobiles.

Prior to Brexit, any free trade arrangement with Great Britain would have had to be under an EU umbrella. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was vilified by many on the U.S./U.K. leftwing for supporting Brexit, though few would trade the U.K.’s response to the COVID pandemic with that of the E.U.

As a result of Brexit, President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Johnson engaged in five negotiation sessions which started on May 5, 2020, to hammer out a U.S./U.K. FTA.

The Trump administration envisioned the benefits of such an agreement to expand economic opportunities in all sectors, create better-paying jobs for Americans and eliminate tariffs and nontariff barriers between the two. In addition, the U.K. felt that such an agreement would enliven British GDP and consumer choice.

Although there are many more positives than negatives, there are hurdles to overcome. For example, British food standards that oppose particular GMOs, chemical, antibiotic and hormone use by U.S. producers are a clear issue on their side of the Atlantic, while Americans view the British National Health Service (NHS) effectively undercuts American pharmaceuticals through government support. There are also sticking points over digital service taxes.

This U.S./U.K. FTA would join the world’s first- and sixth-largest economies and promote military and defense sales and technology exchange when anti-Western adversaries are growing in strength. More importantly and beyond the scope of any economic calculation, such an FTA would strengthen the Anglo-American special relationship at a time when Churchill’s dream of the destiny of the “English-speaking peoples” is needed more than ever.

It would fulfill the fifth clause of the 1940 Atlantic Charter between President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill: “Fifth, they desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing, for all, improved labor standards, economic advancement and social security;”.

This is not merely the concrete military and diplomatic link which is the strongest between two nations, perhaps in history, but a bond of history, law, culture, religion and society.

Such an agreement is the natural and organic outgrowth of the Anglosphere as the center of gravity of western democratic and Judeo-Christian values whose influence over democracy promotion, human rights, the rule of law, the free flow of goods, services and ideas are the very cornerstones needed for a bright 21st century.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 6 May, 2021.