Is America Sending Wrong Signal?

The Israeli government may take the FAA suspending of US flights to Tel Aviv (after a Hamas rocket landed nearby) as a signal of waning US support. European countries did not suspend flights.

If Netanyahu interprets the FAA’s action as politically motivated (and what isn’t in today’s America), he may increase—not decrease—the range and scope of IDF attack on Hamas. They may seek a “knock out” blow before America tightens the screws further.

Such an interpretation and such an action may have serious repercussions. Do you think Washington and Jerusalem are on the same sheet of music? I don’t either.

Book Review: “Storm Front” by Jim Butcher (3 Stars)

Book Review: Storm Front by Jim Butcher

(Three stars of five)

Reviews of books in a genre the reader doesn’t like are questionable. I’m not a fan of urban fantasy nor hard-boiled detectives. However, I’ve heard for years how great Butcher’s Dresden File novels are. So, when a bundle of them in e-pub format became available through my local library, I took the plunge.

Yeap, I don’t care for urban fantasy. That said, this was an excellently conceived and written story. Butcher’s writing is head-and-shoulders above today’s crowded market place. Butcher’s storytelling propel the reader through the story.

Interesting how dated a book only fifteen years old is. It’s like reading something a century old. You’re constantly jerked out of the story by the quaintness. Even so, VW Beetles were rare in 2000. And while “cellular” phones are mentioned, Dresden doesn’t use them (for reasons revealed early in the story). The ubiquity of pay phones in Chicago certainly dates the story. Good luck finding one now.

I liked it even though I didn’t like it. I may try another.

The U.N. in Action in Gaza

What’s happening in Gaza is awful. The loss of life is a tragedy. But are we really doing what we can to end it? Really end it?

“The U.N. discovered twenty rockets in a U.N. school in Gaza. And was forced to admit it after a day of a delay. Do you know what it did with those rockets? It turned it back to the [Palestinian] authorities. So it can now be used to kill Jews,” charged syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. “That’s the U.N., the supposed arbiter, the parliament of man in action.”

What in the world were those rockets doing in a UN facility? Why did the UN try to cover it up? Why did the UN give the rockets back to the Palestinians? I don’t know. I suspect our government doesn’t know.

This whole situation boggles the imagination. Another generation is being prepared to hate their neighbors. It’s enough to make you want to cry.

Warm, if not Smoking, Gun

The U.S. Embassy in Kiev issued a strong statement pointing to Russian complicity in arming the rebels, saying it has concluded “that Flight MH17 was likely downed by a SA-11 surface-to-air missile from separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine.”  It said over the weekend of July 12-13, “Russia sent a convoy of military equipment with up to 150 vehicles, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery and multiple rockets launchers” to the separatists. The statement also said Russia was training separatist fighters in southwest Russia, including on air defense systems.

Putin’s War

Of course Russia is complicit in the MH17 attack. You think the separatists had SAMs in their garages? Separatists claim, “It’s a provocation conjured up by the Ukrainian authorities in Kiev.

“This is a war which Putin singlehandedly has started, supported, armed. It’s his thugs who pulled the trigger … and he’s pretending it’s the fault of the Ukrainians,” said Charles Krauthammer, “and the president is unwilling to say the truth, which, in fact, his own U.N. ambassador had said. He’s relying on the Europeans, who … never act on anything unless they’re led by the U.S.”

Putin has (inadvertently perhaps) pushed his invasion of Ukraine to a new level, and we sit on our hands.

Putin 1: Obama 0

What should we do? Hold Putin responsible. He’s not our friend; he’s not interested in peace in Ukraine, Syria or Iran. He’s growing a new Russian empire. If we’re not willing to stop him, at least we shouldn’t be giving him a “bye.”

 

Shades of 1956

Now, as in 1956, the America administration was distracted by three crises, hindering it from effectively leading the country.

Then, as now, center stage was taken by a crisis in the Middle East: the Anglo-French-Israeli seizure of the Suez Canal, after it had been nationalized by Egypt. The European crisis was the Hungarian effort to throw off the iron grip of the Soviet Union. The Hungarian people bravely attempted to free themselves from Soviet hegemony, AKA the Warsaw Pact. The third crisis was domestic, though the public of that time did not realize its severity: President Eisenhower had suffered a major heart attack. (A detailed analysis may be found in David A Nichols, Eisenhower 1956)

Today, political paralysis may stymie effective American leadership in the current Middle East and Ukraine conflicts. If that happens, Ukraine (and more of the former Soviet Union) may slid back under Russian control and the entire Middle East may dissolve into chaos and bloodshed.

Book Review: Whatever Happened to Worship?: A Call to True Worship by A. W. Tozer (4 Stars)

Book Review: Whatever Happened to Worship?: A Call to True Worship by A. W. Tozer

(Four stars out of five)

“There is no limit to what God can do through us if we are His yielded and purified people, worshiping and showing forth His glory and His faithfulness.”

“Whatever happened …” was Tozer’s last book, published after his death, in which he addresses what to him was a major shortfall in the Christian church of the 1960s: it’s failure to authentic worship.

Tozer’s short, pithy chapters tempt the reader to speed through the book, but a slower approach is more rewarding.

“The God who desires our fellowship and communion is not hard to please, though He may be hard to satisfy. He expects of us only what He has Himself supplied.”

Book Review: Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone (Three Stars)

Book Review: Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone

(Three Stars out of Five)

Better than Three Parts Dead. Tempted to bump it up a star, but the opening (again) was so slow that I almost quit before I’d read a hundred pages.

This story is set on the same world, but has almost nothing (other than history and magic) to do with the first in the Craft Sequence series. You can start here, and not miss anything essential to this story. As a result, there wasn’t a lot of retelling previous material, which was good as this lumbered for the first eighty pages.After things got rolling, the interlocking plots and characters were fine.

Unlike so many modern novels, this one’s nod to political correctness was integral to the plot. Good job.