At Large

At Large

It’s a Riot But It’s No Joke

By 5.1.15

3 demonstrators, 3 police officer wounded in riot; 2 arrested for assaulting police

MK Naguise: I will aim to solve problem of police violence against Ethiopians
—The Jerusalem Post

Should I cry or should I write? Maybe a little of both…

Racial upheaval in Baltimore, Maryland, on the heels of similar events in the Ferguson suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, has precipitated a state fraught with tension. Such episodes were supposed to be a thing of the past. We had been working long and hard as a nation to mend the rips in the social fabric. The election of Barack Obama to the Presidency was to be the final act in consigning racial conflict to the history books. Instead those books are burning and their subjects are on display in a ghetto theater near you.

At Large

Saudi Arabia Rents U.S. Military, Courtesy Barack Obama

By 4.24.15

After killing hundreds of Yemenis, including many civilians, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) announced that it was halting its bombing campaign. Now Operation “Restoring Hope” is to begin. A cynic might wonder if that is the hope of the Saudi king for more subjects to rule and plunder. No doubt the KSA will kill more Yemenis for no cause before the war truly ends.

Apparently incapable of resisting the temptation to meddle in the Middle East, the Obama administration is part of Saudi Arabia’s ten-member “coalition” against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Said Secretary of State John Kerry: “we’re not going to step away from our alliances and our friendships.” The administration is providing intelligence, logistical aid, arms shipments, and even a naval flotilla including an American aircraft carrier to monitor Iranian ships. Apparently Washington wants to block any Iranian military aid for Houthi rebels while underwriting Saudi aggression.

At Large

The Pope and the Punches

By 4.23.15

I have only just discovered Pope Francis’s remarks (thank you Mark Steyn) in the immediate aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre: “Insult my mum and I will punch you.” Although this is fairly old news, it seems to me to be bizarre enough, coming from such a source at such a time, to warrant some further observations.

When I was at boarding school someone did insult my mother, and I did punch him, quite surprising myself. The sound of him sobbing over his broken teeth, and the cheers of the other boys, who had a sense of justice on that occasion at least, was music to my ears.

Of course it was dreadfully un-Christian and I suppose, many years later, that I am in a state of what the Catholics call imperfect contrition over it (sorry I’m not sorry). But then, I’m not the Pope.

However, there is a much more serious dimension to this. Here we are not talking about schoolboys in a bad and neglectful school where immature violence was common, but grown-up murderers who have declared war on Western civilization in the name of a blind, anti-rational, and of course anti-Christian fanaticism.

At Large

Nigeria’s Democracy Gets a Boost

By 4.17.15

It may be to Muhammadu Buhari’s advantage that his All Progressives Congress party did not take Rivers state in the gubernatorials that followed Nigeria’s presidential election last week.

Riding the general's coat-tails in his landslide victory last month, his party won a majority in the Senate and may come out even in the governorships of the nation's 36 states when the votes are all counted. State governments are powerful institutions in what is still a federal republic, with big bucks in their coffers. The Nigerian currency unit is the naira and it is broken down into kobos. A kobo is not worth much these days, nor is a naira, so it may be a good time to go short on it. The Nigerian economy’s bulls are a-snorting in the stables and it is likely a boom’s coming.


If the federal structure stays solid, basically. The key to Nigerian success at present is: federation and union, now and forever. If he were not such a hard-nose, the president-elect might be something of a Henry Clay, devoted to the national idea but respectful of regional differences requiring patience on all sides. That is why it is, arguably, better his party did not make it in Rivers.

At Large

Weeping for Argentina

By 3.31.15

“There are countries which are rich and countries which are poor. And there are poor countries which are growing rich. And then there is Argentina.”

This saying, attributed to the 2010 Nobel Laureate for Literature, Peru’s Mario Vargas Llosa, is perhaps the pithiest description of what many regard as the twentieth century textbook-case of economic decay. Fifteen years into the twenty-first century and in the run-up to national elections in October, there’s no indication that Argentina will change course anytime soon. That’s partly because the Argentine economy’s seemingly intractable problems mirror deep-set political and cultural dysfunctionalities that most of the nation’s elites—and, it should be said, many ordinary Argentines—have little interest in addressing.

At Large

Death of a Janus-Faced Prime Minister

By 3.24.15

Malcolm Fraser, the strange, bewildering ex-Conservative Prime Minister of Australia, has died aged 84.

Fraser will be remembered favorably by the right sort of people for four things.

He rid Australia of the terrible Whitlam Labor Government, when that government had, for the first time in history, put Australia’s democracy into real danger; he reduced inflation which under Whitlam had reached 19 percent; reversed Whitlam’s wicked recognition of the Soviet incorporation of the Baltic States; and his own government, particularly Immigration Minister Michael McKellar, generously and rightly accepted large numbers of Vietnamese boat refugees in the face of a disgusting campaign by the left to leave them to drown or be forcibly repatriated to Communist Vietnam’s labor camps and firing squads.

At Large

Soul Freedom at Growing Risk

By 3.17.15

Religious persecution did not end with Nero and the Roman Empire. In fact, punishment of and hostility toward people of faith is increasing. The group Open Doors recently released its latest World Watch List, warning: “This year, the threshold was higher for a country to make the list, indicating that worldwide levels of persecution have increased.” Persecution emerged “even in places where it has not been reported in the past.” As a result, Bahrain, Morocco, and Niger fell off the list even though their mistreatment of religious believers remained largely unchanged. (Azerbaijan, Mexico, and Turkey replaced them.)

Last year the group Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity, released a report which concluded that in 81 of 196 countries, or 41 percent, religious liberty was substantially impaired or in decline. Another 35 percent, or 18 percent, had issues “of concern.” Overall, conditions of religious liberty had deteriorated in 55 countries and improved in only six.

At Large

Goodbye to Britain’s Deterrent?

By 3.11.15

I have written in a number of places about the parlous state of Britain’s defense and the present and previous governments’ culpable failure in this regard.

The Royal Air Force, for example, has gone from 17 fighter squadrons to just 7 of all types in fifteen years. Its bombers, the Nimrod long-range patrol aircraft and the Royal Navy’s Harriers which could take off from improvised flight decks (for example container-loaded ships) have been disposed of.

Famous military writer Frederick Forsyth has said, “Five years ago a Conservative-led government (of all things) stripped British armed forces to the bone in the most stupid Defense and Strategic Review we have ever had, abandoning centuries as a formidable power and treating our servicemen as criminals for the slightest misdemeanors.”

However, further cuts to the army are being forecast and a new threat has emerged that represents an unforeseen and potentially critical menace to Britain’s defense capability.

At Large

The Church of England Beclowns Itself

By 3.9.15

If randy, bed-room-farce vicars, anti-“Zionism” and vanishing congregations were not enough to beclown the Church of England, it has reverted to its noxious habit of setting aside any nonsense about rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and resumed meddling in election politics.

Apparently blithely unaware that the Thatcher administration saved Britain from something like Greece’s fate, the church has issued a 52-page political manifesto demanding, as the Telegraph summarized, that “Thatcherism should be consigned to history because it no longer has the answers to Britain’s problems.”

At Large

At War With Whom?

By 3.3.15

In this second in the series of reports from France on the war between Islam and the West (the first, put out immediately after the January attacks, here), François d’Orcival, member of the Institut de France and president of the editorial board of the newsweekly Valeurs Actuelles, discusses a recent speech by Roger Cukierman, president of the CRIF (Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France, comparable to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations). The CRIF this week appealed to Americans to find a way to prevent social media from being used as a jihadist recruitment platform and spewer of anti-Semitic hate. — Roger Kaplan