Politics & Current Events

Volatility in the 2016 Middle Eastern Cauldron

Jan 16th, 2016 | By

Predicting what events will occur in the year 2016 is dangerous and rarely helpful. However, one thing seems certain about 2016: The Middle East will be on center stage. No matter what occurs in Asia or Europe, the world continues to be drawn to the Middle Eastern cauldron. It seems reasonable to conclude that this region will remain unstable, volatile and terribly dangerous. Events of the last few days validate this assumption. Consider these developments:

Thoughts for Our Next President

Jan 2nd, 2016 | By

The year 2016 is a presidential election year and, although it seems as if the campaign began in early 2015, as we move into the New Year, voters will begin to get serious about a candidate. I am not interested in speculating on who will or who should win the election in November. I want to devote this edition of Issues to some thoughts for the future president and, by extension, for the voters who will elect that president.

Arbitrary Benchmarks in the Climate Change Debate

Dec 19th, 2015 | By

As I am writing this, the UN Paris Climate Change Conference involving about 190 nations is in its second week of negotiations. The exact result of this major conference is not yet known. But one of the most important elements of the climate change debate is the key benchmark set for acceptable rise in global temperature. For decades, climate treaty discussions have been framed by the conviction that a rise in the planet’s average global temperature of two degrees Celsius or more above preindustrial levels would usher in catastrophic climate change. Why has this 2 degree Celsius limit taken on a life of its own? Where did it originate and why? Is it a reliable benchmark for the world to follow or is it an arbitrary benchmark?

ISIS, Terror and Theology: Understanding Paris

Nov 21st, 2015 | By

Since 2014, President Obama has consistently underestimated ISIS. For example, in January of 2014, he characterized ISIS as the “JV” team and that it “was not a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.” Shortly before the horrific ISIS attack in Paris last week, he declared that “I don’t think [ISIS] is gaining strength” for “we have contained them.” However, ISIS recently blew up a Russian airliner over the Sinai, engineered a bombing in Lebanon, and has expanded into more than half-dozen countries—and then carried out the strategic and coordinated attack in Paris; the worst attack on Paris since World War II.

The Confused and Lethal Priorities of the 21st Century

Nov 14th, 2015 | By

Life is about choices, both individual choices and institutional choices. Government is the most significant institution in most of our lives. It sets policy and then organizes resources, usually through taxation, to fund those policy choices. Throughout much of the world, governmental institutions and their political leaders believe that climate change is the result of human choices. Therefore, we must alter those individual choices so that climate warming will slow. Those governmental policy choices to effect individual, personal change will necessitate an enormous transfer of wealth and national treasure.

Democratic Socialism: The Solution to Economic Inequality?

Nov 7th, 2015 | By

Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, has declared himself a democratic socialist, which means that he rejects capitalism. Sanders manifests a troubling development within the Democratic Party—a skepticism about or an outright rejection of capitalism. In socialism, generally, the means of production are owned by the public (i.e., the state) or by the workers, so that the state can provide a wide range of basic services (e.g., health care, education, child care, housing, energy, etc.) to its citizens free of charge or at a significant discount. This necessitates a redistribution of national income and wealth via the power of the state.

What Is Vladimir Putin Doing in the Middle East [Part Two]?

Oct 24th, 2015 | By

The events unfolding in the Middle East are of immense significance, but, with presidential politics, same-sex marriage debates and the news-as-entertainment phenomenon, most Americans are ignorant of these developments. For that reason, I am adding a second part to the Issues of a few weeks ago, “What is Vladimir Putin doing in the Middle East?”

What Is Vladimir Putin Doing in the Middle East?

Oct 3rd, 2015 | By
Vladimir Putin

In the history of American foreign policy, presidents have consistently sought to impede Russian presence in the Middle East. In 1946, President Truman forced the USSR to withdraw from Iran. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, President Nixon pressured the USSR when it began resupplying Arab clients. After the 1976 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, President Carter threatened military force if the Soviets went any farther. In August, Israel began warning the United States that Russia was planning a significant military deployment into Syria to prop up the Assad regime. That deployment has begun.

The 2015 Refugee Crisis: Realities and Solutions

Sep 26th, 2015 | By

The visual images and the numbers are staggering: Hundreds of thousands of desperate people are fleeing the Middle East. . . Although most are fleeing war, some are fleeing poverty; and the majority of them are Muslim. The bulk of them are headed for Europe, principally seeking refuge in Germany and the Scandinavian countries. The total number of refugees or economic migrants from the nations above is in the millions. The Syria civil war alone has produced 4 million refugees, most of whom have fled to Jordan or Lebanon. But, increasingly they are heading for Europe where they hope to find prosperity, stability and hope. rpbc brochure.pdf

Dissecting the Trump Phenomenon

Sep 12th, 2015 | By
UNITED STATES – FEBRUARY 10: Donald Trump speaks to the CPAC meeting, held by the American Conservative Union in Washington on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2010. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

In early 2015, no one would have predicted that Donald Trump would be leading in most polls for the Republican presidential nomination and, to some extent, setting the agenda for the 2016 presidential campaign. The Trump phenomenon is energized and empowered by the arrogant, bombastic bravado of a man who is not only damaging the Republican Party; he is also damaging the American Republic. Since I am a Christian and write Issues in Perspective for Christians from a Christian worldview perspective, it is important to evaluate him and the phenomenon surrounding him from that perspective.