Good morning, this is Toby Sumpter with your CrossPolitic news brief for Tuesday, January 7th, 2020.
In response to the US killing of Iranian Terrorist Qasem Soleimani last Friday, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the US had committed a grave mistake. On the day of the attack, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javid Zarif tweeted that the airstrike was an “act of international terrorism,” suggesting that General Soleimani had been the most effective force fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda. The Foreign Minister said the act was “extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation” adding that “the US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.” “Soleimani was the international face of resistance,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a statement, “and all lovers of resistance will be his avengers.” He added that “harsh retaliation is waiting.” Khamenei has ordered three days of public mourning, according to the AP.
The Daily Mail reports that on Saturday, Iranian General Gholamali Abuhamzeh, a Revolutionary Guards commander in the southern province of Kerman, threatened that Iran had itendified 35 targets for potential strikes and raised the red flags of revenge over every key mosque. Abuhamzeh said vital American targets in the region had been identified a ‘long time ago’, including ships in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and Tel Aviv. “The Strait of Hormuz is a vital point for the West and a large number of American destroyers and warships cross there … some 35 U.S. targets in the region as well as Tel Aviv are within our reach,” he said, according to Reuters.
Trump responded on Sunday via Twitter: “Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently…. ….hundreds of Iranian protesters. He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations. Iran has been nothing but problems for many years. Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have… …targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”
Many commentators pointed out that the threat to strike 52 cultural sites would seem to be a breach of international law. Others were also quick to say that this is the sort of international crisis they feared Trump would blunder into.
But Trump continued on Twitter undeterred: Quoting a tweet from Texas Representative Dan Crenshaw who asked what is so controversial about there being repercussions for terrorists attacking the US, Trump said, “They attacked us, & we hit back. If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!
Trump followed up with two more tweets on the subject: “The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation! These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner. Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!”
The US House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Twitter account shot back, quoting this last tweet from the President, “This Media Post will serve as a reminder that war powers reside in the Congress under the United States Constitution. And that you should read the War Powers Act. And that you’re not a dictator.” It seems that the House is suddenly interested in the constitution again…
On Sunday Iran announced that it is withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal. In exchange for economic sanctions being lifted, Iran had agreed to end all uranium enrichment programs for at least 15 years and submit to various inspections. However, last May, Trump had reinstated sanctions against Iran and states that trade with Iran, effectively ending America’s participating in the deal. Iran responded by giving the other nuclear deal signatories 60 days to protect it from US sanctions, threatening to resume production of enriched uranium. Nuclear watchdog IAEA says that Iran has recommenced enriched uranium production. Trump responded to Iran’s announcement on Sunday with all caps and an exclamation point: “Iran will never have a nuclear weapon!”
Meanwhile the Iraqi Parliament passed a non-binding resolution asking US forces to leave the country, and Reuters reported Monday that the US Marine Corp Brigadier General William H. Seely III, the commanding general of Task Force Iraq had written a letter addressed to the Iraqi defense ministry’s Combined Joint Operations Baghdad, stating, “Sir, in deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and the Prime Minister, CJTF-OIR will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement… We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure.” [This letter was later repudiated by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who insisted that the US has no plans to withdraw troops, according to Reuters. Trump also said such withdrawal would only be accompanied by severe sanctions.]
Finally, on this topic, it’s worth noting that a 1996 interview with Joe Biden captures him on a news program insisting strongly that if Iran every attacked a US facility it should be considered an act of war and that ANY retaliation would be warranted. Hmmm… We’ll just let simmer for a bit and see if anyone notices. Probably not.
But speaking of fires, Australia continues to be ravaged by the worst wildfires seen in decades. CNN reports that dozens have died and more that 1300 houses have been destroyed, with over 14.7 million acres burned across six states, with 8.9 million of those acres in the hardest hit New South Wales. It’s estimated that perhaps a third of the koalas in New South Wales may have been killed by the fires, which has caused some Hollywood elites to speak out in great alarm. But of course you can get more sympathy in Hollywood for koalas than you can for human babies, as evidenced by the applause and tears Actress Michelle Williams received at the Gold Globe Awards on Sunday night, when she announced that she had employed “a woman’s right to choose,” implying that she had killed at least one of her children, so that she could pursue a career in acting.
But back to the Australian forest fires, higher than average temperatures, high winds, lightning strikes, arsonists, and the recent legalization of sodomite marriage in 2017 are all blamed by leading scientists. However, what you won’t hear in the news is the fact that beginning the 1990s, Bob Carr’s liberal Labor government began a massive forest lock-up program. Peter Austin writes at theland.com.au, “Before that “greening” frenzy began, soon after Carr came to office in 1995, national parks and reserves accounted for some 4.8 per cent of New South Wales. Today the total area of the state controlled by the National Parks and Wildlife Service is more than 9pc. In less than 20 years, therefore, the area of national parks and related reserves has virtually doubled, but the resources deployed to manage this vastly expanding empire have not doubled with it. On the contrary, it was revealed last week that even since 2011, successive budget cuts have resulted in the NPWS slashing its staffing of rangers by one-third, thereby impairing its capacity to conduct hazard reduction burns. But before Carr took over, much of the coastal bushland now locked up in national park was prudently managed state forest, where fuel loads were kept down by logging programs, regular thinning and cattle grazing.”
Turns out that the GREEN Religion doesn’t keep things Green at all. It just results in them turning black. And I’m not just talking about the United Methodist Church. This a lesson in government incompetence. But it’s also a lesson in biblical jurisdictions. It is not the Civil Magistrate’s job to managed forests. Incidentally, it’s not the civil magistrate’s job to fund the arts or media or news or education. God did not give those jobs to that office. Therefore, it is disobedience to God and inevitable tyranny for the State to assume those powers. Should Christians care about the environment? Of course. But we should care about it through private ownership of land, and private foundations and associations that will have skin in the game. Personal responsibility is key to success. Bureaucrats and committees cannot be expected to care that much about what doesn’t actually belong to them. The other thing to note here is that God commanded mankind to take dominion of the earth and cultivate it. This means in part that the earth needs cultivating. We need godly foresters and loggers and conservationists who understand that just like man is not good all alone and needs a helper, so too, the land is not good all alone and needs gardeners. And the more the GREENIES fail to actually care for the earth, enterprising Christians should be looking for ways to pry the government’s fat fingers off the land and return it to private citizens and foundations.
This is Toby Sumpter with your CrossPolitic New Brief for Tuesday, January 7th, 2020. If you would like to encourage more of this, and why wouldn’t you, please share the show and consider becoming a CrossPolitic Member. As a member you get access to a number of behind the scenes interviews, our CrossPolitic Worldview Series, and several masterclasses on parenting, Christian business principles, God and Government, eschatology, and a Proverbs Bible Study. You can find out more and become a member at flfnetwork.com/membership.