Welcome to the desert of the real – A civilization ruled by fools is bound to collapse

The fall of Troy by Kerstiaen De Keuninck

The fall of Troy by Kerstiaen De Keuninck

The false can never grow into truth by growing in power.

Rabindranath Tagore

 

We are witnessing the convergences of a number of interwoven crises, with multiple, interlocking effects and symptoms, building up a “perfect storm”:

A regional cooling of the climate forecast for North America and Northern Europe (Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us, Guardian, 22 February 2004; Global warming may lead to colder winters in Britain, Independent, 30 June 2006; Real risk of a Maunder minimum ‘Little Ice Age’ says leading scientist, BBC, 28 October 2013 Cold winters have been caused by global warming: new research, Telegraph, 27 October 2014; Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say, The Independent, 23 marzo 2015; Climate scientists fear ‘Day After Tomorrow’ scenario, MSNBC, 10 September 2015; Two distinct influences of Arctic warming on cold winters over North America and East Asia, Nature, 31 August 2015; Death rate rises as cold snap grips UK, Guardian, 4 February 2015; NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses, NASA, 30 October 2015; Growing Antarctic Ice Sheets May Have Sparked Ice Age, Live Science, 04 December 2014); the Syrian and Iraqi Armageddon; ISIS-Daesh; the European refugee and migrant crisis; the Western and Chinese financial instability (Here’s how the growing corporate debt bubble could burst, Fortune, 4 October 2015).

Our leaders, at least in the West, do not appear to be able to perceive the distress of the engines of our civilization. Or perhaps they are not in a position to effectively intervene, obstructed or driven as they likely are by powerful and selfish interest groups (Naomi Klein, Disaster capitalism: how to make money out of misery, Guardian, 30 August 2006).

At some point, in the foreseeable future, ordinary people could decide that it is time to rise up and seize the power from leaders that are failing them.

WAR ON TERROR

They do not move beyond short-term solutions, such as dropping bombs to make the world a safer place, escalating the problems instead of solving them. After fifteen years of battling it should by now be clear that the “War on Terror” cannot be won and only serves the purpose of radicalising young Muslims, as in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, Somalia, Yemen). A perpetual war which is eroding the principles we uphold and claim to defend from the assault of extremists.

WAR ON REFUGEES

Presidential candidates such as Trump, Carson, Bush, leading European intellectuals, and several Eastern European politicians have expressed frightening views on the fate of immigrants, refugees, and ordinary citizens, involving mass border-closing, mass deportations, mass internments, mass surveillance, that is, the creation of continent-wide Guantánamos in Europe and North America.

They are allowed to do so on the back of fear of Islam and Terror (“First they came for the Muslims…”).

As Alexander Hamilton once remarked in Federalist 8 (1787): Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates. The violent destruction of life and property…a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort…to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights.”

In point of fact, during WWI and WWII, the U.S. government imprisoned thousands of citizens whose only fault was to belong to the “wrong” ethnic group. McCarthyism and the McCarran Internal Security Act (1950) somehow revived the witch-hunting spirit of the provisions included in the notorious Alien and Sedition Acts (1798), allowing the detention, expulsion and de-naturalization of persons suspected to be engaged in “un-American” activities.

Nowadays, one sometimes wonders if a neo-McCarthyist Committee of Uneuropean Activities will at some point be appointed.

The rejection of Syrian and Iraqi refugees would condemn many of them to certain death (see the Jewish precedent in 1930s Europe) and would bolster the Daesh caliphate, whose chief aim is to ensure a permanent clash of civilizations by fuelling divisive feelings in societies.

Solidarity, compassion, unity, inclusiveness, humanity, love may well be the ultimate kryptonite against neoconservative and Islamic fundamentalists.

WAR ON CLIMATE

With thousands of refugees fleeing to Europe each day, over the next winters Europe’s exorbitant energy costs could make this humanitarian crisis even worse than it already is.

Cold temperatures kill 20 times more people than hot temperatures (Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study, Lancet, 25 July 2015) and yet the Paris climate summit’s attendants are asked to pledge nearly $1 trillion in GDP every year for the rest of this century in order to reduce global temperatures by a minuscule 0.048°C (Bjorn Lomborg, Paris climate promises will reduce temperatures by just 0.05°C in 2100, Global Policy, 9 November 2015).

These are precious sources that could be much better spent on means to help the vast majority of Syrian refugees professing to be willing to go back to their country once the civil war will be over to remain in safe areas in the Middle East and to rebuild their houses, businesses and the nation’s infrastructures.

AN IMPENDING, SYSTEMIC COLLAPSE?

We know from the past that instances of regional climate change leading to cooler and more extreme and unpredictable conditions are responsible at least in part for widespread civil disturbance, warfare and social collapse due to repeated crop failures (Eric H. Cline, 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed, 2014).

If this is the case, then a systemic collapse triggered by several butterfly effects and processes of structural degradation is on the cards. This is by no means an unprecedented occurrence (e.g. Bronze Age, Mayan and Anasazi decadence, Vikings forced to abandon their colonies in Greenland and North America, etc.: regional cooling appears to have been the chief cause of these events) and we should be already making sensible preparations for what is to come (Brandon Lee Drake, The Influence of Climatic Change on the Late Bronze Age Collapse and the Greek Dark Ages, Journal of Archaeological Science, 2012).

AN ABRUPT ENDING TO THE HOLOCENE

We have some very strange weather at the moment, but what’s interesting is that some of the research we’ve done shows that there have been times in the past when the jet stream has been as far south as it is now. In the 1680s and 1690s the jet stream was as far south as it is today, but all that really does is demonstrate how incredibly complicated predicting weather is. Our climate in the 1690s and 1690s wasn’t as it is now, that period is known as The Little Ice Age.
Dennis Wheeler, Emeritus Professor of Climatology, University of Sunderland, 6 march 2014

when the atmosphere cools, the jet stream becomes more erratic, swinging in zigzags, first north then south, and becoming very weak and susceptible to disturbances caused by sea temperature and by snow and ice on land and sea…Recent severe weather conditions in North America and elsewhere are a result of this weaker, more erratic pattern of windflow. High pressure building over the southwestern United States seaboard, aided by ocean temperature conditions, zigzags the jest stream so that it is too weak to push the “blocking high” system away. A dominant flow from northwest to southeast is established across the whole of the United States east of the Rockies, encouraging the southward flow of the jet stream and cooling a great area of ocean south of Newfoundland.

Douglas Orgill and John Gribbin, “The Sixth Winter”, 1979

As the planet was warming (1979-2001) the jet stream was moving north, at a speed of 12-13 miles per year (the polar convective cells were shrinking). Now that it has stopped warming, the jet stream is gradually shifting southward (the polar convective cells are growing): “Instead of circling the earth in the far north, the jet stream has begun to meander, like a river heading off course. This has brought chilly Arctic weather further south than normal, and warmer temperatures up north. Perhaps most disturbingly, it remains in place for longer periods of time” (“Jet Stream Shift Could Mean Harsher Winters”, Discovery, 16 February 2014).

Jet streams trending equatorially are a phenomenon linked to cooling poles (a greater differential between tropical and polar temperatures) and to low solar activity (an active sun flattens the jet stream: more latitudinal (“zonal”) jet stream; a quiet sun makes it more meandering: more meridional jet stream) (cf. Brian Fagan, “The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850“).

What will likely occur over the next few years is that heat will be pulled from the tropics to the poles to offset their cooling trend. This means more powerful storms, overall windier conditions and maximum precipitation (i.e. snow), as it normally happens when warm meets cold. When mid latitudes will be cool enough, nothing will stop the Arctic cooling and the northern hemisphere will plunge into an ice age.

So, no matter how counterintuitive this may sound, global warming produces global cooling and triggers glaciations. Every ice age has been preceded by an upward spike in global temperatures increasing oceanic evaporation and precipitations falling as snow, feeding glaciers at high latitudes and high elevations.

If this is the beginning of a cooling phase or even the end of the current interglacial, then we are to expect snowy winters and shorter, hot summers keeping the oceans warm, with more evaporation.
This is how it works:

The beginning of the last glacial period was characterized in the Northern hemisphere by major accumulation of snow at high latitudes and the formation of a huge polar ice sheet. For climatologists this was paradoxical, since snowfall is always associated with high humidity and relatively moderate temperatures. Now, a French team coordinated by María Fernanda Sánchez-Goñi, a researcher at EPHE working in the ‘Oceanic and Continental Environments and Paleoenvironments’ Laboratory (CNRS/Universités Bordeaux 1 & 4) has solved this paradox. By analyzing sediment cores dating from 80 000 to 70 000 years ago, the researchers have shown that during this period water temperatures in the Bay of Biscay remained relatively high, whereas temperatures in mainland Europe gradually fell. Carried northwards by wind, the humidity released by this thermal contrast appears to have caused the snowfall that formed the polar ice sheet.

Interglacial periods do indeed end with a global warming phase, as a gap is needed between warming tropics (warm oceans provide the necessary moisture) and cooling subpolar zones, for a glaciation to occur (Andrews and Barry, Glacial Inception and Disintegration during the Last Glaciation, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Vol. 6, p.205, 1978; How Global Warming Can Chill the Planet, Live Science, 17 December 2004; Kukla and Gavin, Did glacials start with global warming? Quaternary Science Review, Vol. 24, August 2005, pp. 1547–1557; Wallace S. Broecker, The End of the Present Interglacial: How and When?, Quaternary Science Reviews, 1998, Vol. 17, pp. 689-694; Tatjana Boettger et al., 2009, Instability of climate and vegetation dynamics in Central and Eastern Europe during the final stage of the Last Interglacial (Eemian, Mikulino) and Early Glaciation, Quarternary International, 207, 137-144; María-Fernanda Sánchez-Goñi et al., 2013, Air-sea temperature decoupling in Western Europe during the last interglacial/glacial transitionNature Geoscience, Vol. 6, pp. 837–841).

Scientists analyzing the geological and ice records tell us that ice ages take place in a regular cyclic pattern and normally last about 100,000 years, with intervening interglacial periods of 10 to 15,000 years which “tend to occur during periods of peak solar radiation in the Northern Hemisphere summer”.

Because five of the last 6 interglacial periods have lasted about 11,500-12,000 years, and the Holocene began approximately 11,700 years ago, we should not discount the possibility that we might be nearing the end of the present interglacial period, a tipping-point which will return us to a glacial period marked by cooler, dryer climate, killer frosts, frequent floods, lower food production, and expanding ice sheets and sea ice.

It is thus not unreasonable to expect a marked cooling between 2018 and 2025, with wild swings in climate, and a drop of Northern Hemisphere sea and air temperatures greater than in the late Sixties (Thompson et al., An abrupt drop in Northern Hemisphere sea surface temperature around 1970, Nature, 467, 444–447).

The two main features indicating that we have already entered a transition phase are (cf. Müller and Kukla, North Atlantic Current and European environments during the declining stage of the last interglacial, Geology, 2004; Risebrobakken, Dokken and Jansen, Extent and Variability of the Meridional Atlantic Circulation in the Eastern Nordic Seas During Marine Isotope Stage 5 and Its Influence on the Inception of the Last Glacial, American Geophysical Union, Geophysical Monograph Series 158, 2005; Stefanie B. Wirth, The Holocene flood history of the Central Alps reconstructed from lacustrine sediments: Frequency, intensity and controlling climate factors, Quaternary Science Reviews, September 2013):

  • Increasing precipitations during the cold season at high latitudes and on the mountains (Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover Anomalies, NOAA 1967-2013), which causes a quick build-up of the ice sheets;
  • A cooling North Atlantic, as the North Atlantic Current struggles to penetrate into the Nordic Seas;

According to the Danish Niels Bohr Institute, the last ice age ended circa 11,711 years ago, “as if a button was pressed”. This transition generally takes place rather abruptly (Mini ice age took hold of Europe in months, New Scientist, 11 November 2009; Steffensen, J. P.,et al., 2008, High-resolution Greenland ice core data show abrupt climate change happens in a few years, Science, 321, 680-684; Flückiger, J., 2008, Did you say “fast?”, Science, 321, 650-651):

During the past 110,000 years, there have been at least 20 such abrupt climate changes. Only one period of stable climate has existed during the past 110,000 years–the 11,000 years of modern climate (the “Holocene” era). “Normal” climate for Earth is the climate of sudden extreme jumps–like a light switch flicking on and off…The historical records shows us that abrupt climate change is not only possible–it is the normal state of affairs. The present warm, stable climate is a rare anomaly.

Jeffrey Masters

The most famous evidence of this abrupt weather change comes from Otzi, the “Tyrolean ice man” whose remarkably preserved body was discovered in the Eastern Alps in 1991 after it was exposed by a melting glacier. Forensic evidence suggests that Otzi was shot in the back with an arrow, escaped his enemies, then sat down behind a boulder and bled to death. We know that within days of Otzi’s dying there must have been a climate event large enough to entomb him in snow; otherwise, his body would have decayed or been eaten by scavengers. Radiocarbon dating of Otzi’s remains revealed that he died around 5,200 years ago (Baroni & Orombelli, 1996). The event that preserved Otzi could have been local, but other evidence points to a global event of abrupt cooling. Around the world organic material is being exposed for the first time in 5,200 years as glaciers recede.

Lonnie G. Thompson, Climate Change: The Evidence and Our Options, 2012

ONWARD WITH THE ANTHROPOCENE!

Ultimately, the question we should ask ourselves is: what would be the fate of North America and Northern Europe if climate change orthodoxy were wrong (A complete list of things allegedly caused by global warming)?

We are about to find out whether large portions of the northern hemisphere will be made suddenly uninhabitable by an increasingly dry and freezing climate and, eventually, by the advancing ice sheets.

The demonization of CO2 has been one of the most outrageous fallacies in the history of science. The rate of photosynthesis, and therefore the flourishing of life on this planet, is determined by the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. The more, the better: plants grow faster, healthier, stronger.

Photosynthesis counters entropy, that is to say, life extinction. Deliberately cutting CO2 concentration is like draining the biosphere’s blood. Our carbon emissions are, as it were, a profoundly innovative way for Gaia to sustain its biosphere and, possibly, forestall some of the effects of the forthcoming ice age.

A human civilization committed to fighting off glacial inception through CO2 emissions, greening the deserts and melting the ice to lower Earth’s albedo would be the most expedient ecological invention ever devised by Mother Nature: humans as a cure for the ice cancer.

https://www.facebook.com/mediaskopia

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Gas wars in the Middle East

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A clash of the titans for the control of the European gas market, with Syria’s territory as the most practical route for a natural gas pipeline.
If the Iranian side wins, Southern Europe will get cheap gas and Greece will be able to apply gas transit charges and thus heal its wounds.

Iranian Renaissance

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On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Iran had been invited to the confab which will be held in Vienna on Thursday.  The announcement is bound to be ferociously criticized on Capital Hill, but it just shows to what extent Russia is currently setting the agenda. It was Lavrov who insisted that Iran be invited, and it was Kerry who reluctantly capitulated. Moscow is now in the drivers seat. And don’t be surprised if the summit produces some pretty shocking results too, like a dramatic 180 on Washington’s “Assad must go” demand.   As Putin has pointed out many times before, Assad’s not going anywhere.

Putin Makes Obama an Offer He Can’t Refuse, Counterpunch, 29 October 2015

There is no angst in the Iranian mind today. Its integration with the international community is well under way and the Iranian diplomats are savvy enough to develop synergy between the Syrian track and Tehran’s agenda to build up ties with Europe and America.

Iran returns to ‘Vienna Talks’ – as peacemaker, Asia Times, 29 October 2015

Russia now effectively operates a ‘no-fly zone’ over Syria, which strips Israel of access points to not only targets in Syria but also in Lebanon. Meanwhile, according to reports, Russia is dispatching to the Eastern Mediterranean a massive guided missile carrier, Moskva, equipped with an estimated sixty-four S-300 missile defence systems. All in all, the alignments in the regional politics have dramatically changed with the latest reversal in the US position signifying its willingness to sit with Iran to discuss Syria.

What it means to invite Iran to key Syria talks, Asia Times, 28 October 2015

Following the historic agreement in Vienna that could end the 12-year standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme, Iran has been for the first time invited to participate in international talks meant to put an end to Syria’s crisis. It is also likely that its bid to join the WTO once sanctions are lifted will be granted.
We are thus now having a return to multilateral diplomacy and, as a result, things are starting to move in a more cooperative and peaceful direction.

Anticipation is generally associated with such a new beginning.
Thus, it is hopefully auspicious that, on October 20-21 Roberto Poli, president of -skopìa and First UNESCO Chair in Anticipatory Systems at the University of Trento, Italy, has been invited by the Shakhes Pajouh Research Institute of the Isfahan University to teach a one-day workshop on the three levels of Futures Studies: Forecast, Foresight and Anticipation, followed by a half-day Q&A session.

This event was reported in a news broadcast by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

A photo gallery from the event is available here.

Twilight of Empire: Inside the Crumbling Atlantic Bloc

NatoExpansion

NATO expansion

The time has come to review the agreements concerning the U.S. bases [on Italian soil]. I do not think that Italy should continue to host on its territory, without much needed revisions, American military enclaves, as policy tools that are not always in our best interest.

Sergio Romano, A che cosa servono le basi americane in Italia, Corriere della Sera, 10 October 2015

Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan and head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asia Department Zamir Kabulov told a Russian newspaper that Afghanistan’s first Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum has requested Moscow’s support to fight against ISIS insurgents.

Russia to Sell Modern Attack Helicopters to Afghanistan, the Diplomat, 9 October 2015

Baghdad intends to lean on Russia in the war on Islamic State after U.S.-led coalition airstrikes produced limited results. Russian military action in Iraq would deepen U.S. fears that it is losing more strategic ground to rivals in one of the world’s most critical regions.

Iraq leans toward Russia in war on Islamic State, Reuters, 7 October 2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that President Bashar al-Assad should be involved in any Syrian peace talks

Merkel: Assad must be included in Syria peace talks, Al Jazeera, 24 September 2015

I know from my conversations with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin that he (does not accept) phrases like when Barack Obama said Russia was a regional power. What does that mean? You can’t talk about Russia like that. We must, I say frankly, treat Russia properly. Russia should be treated as an equal.

The West must ‘treat Russia properly’: Juncker, Yahoo News, 8 October 2015

French President Francois Hollande has said that following recent ceasefire progress in Ukraine he hopes to see the end of sanctions against Russia.

Ukraine conflict: France hopes to end Russia sanctions, BBC, 7 September 2015

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France and Germany have both expressed reservations about the way in which the negotiations have been conducted on several occasions. Faced with increasing concern over the direction of the negotiations, Matthias Fekl announced that France would be prepared to abandon the whole process if it does not receive the concessions it wants. “If nothing changes, that will show that there is no willingness to ensure a mutually beneficial negotiation process,” he explained.

“France is examining all its options, including abandoning the negotiations all together,” Matthias Fekl said. This option may strike a chord with some other member states, as the European Commission has taken responsibility for the negotiations upon itself, leaving the 28 countries on the side-lines.

France threatens to pull out of TTIP negotiations, EurActiv, 29 September 2015

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The TPP does not include:

South Korea, nominal gross domestic product $1.4-trillion.

Indonesia, nominal GDP $900-billion.

Taiwan, nominal GDP $500-billion.

Thailand, nominal GDP $400-billion.

Colombia, nominal GDP $380-billion.

The Philippines, nominal GDP $330-billion.

 

China, nominal GDP $10.5-trillion.

Russia, nominal GDP $ 1.860-trillion.

 

A Biden-Warren ticket against the neocon march to World War III

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Wolfowitz Doctrine, 1992

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.

The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. In non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.

In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region’s oil.

■ Zbigniew Brzezinski, How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen, Counter Punch, 1998

According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

■ Robert Dreyfuss Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, 2005

The first complete account of America’s most dangerous foreign policy miscalculation: sixty years of support for Islamic fundamentalism

Devil’s Game is the gripping story of America’s misguided efforts, stretching across decades, to dominate the strategically vital Middle East by courting and cultivating Islamic fundamentalism. Among all the books about Islam, this is the first comprehensive inquiry into the touchiest issue: How and why did the United States encourage and finance the spread of radical political Islam?

■ Ian Johnson A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West, 2010

In the wake of the news that the 9/11 hijackers had lived in Europe, journalist Ian Johnson wondered how such a radical group could sink roots into Western soil. Most accounts reached back twenty years, to U.S. support of Islamist fighters in Afghanistan. But Johnson dug deeper, to the start of the Cold War, uncovering the untold story of a group of ex-Soviet Muslims who had defected to Germany during World War II. There, they had been fashioned into a well-oiled anti-Soviet propaganda machine. As that war ended and the Cold War began, West German and U.S. intelligence agents vied for control of this influential group, and at the center of the covert tug of war was a quiet mosque in Munich—radical Islam’s first beachhead in the West.

■ Zbigniew Brzezinski

The Russian naval and air presences in Syria are vulnerable, isolated geographically from their homeland. They could be ‘disarmed’ if they persist in provoking the US.

Brzezinski: Obama should retaliate if Russia doesn’t stop attacking U.S. assets, Politico, 5 October 2015

■ Ashton Carter

Russia will pay price for Syrian airstrikes, says US defence secretary, Guardian, 8 October 2015

■ Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina endorses waterboarding ‘to get information that was necessary’, Guardian, 28 September 2015

Fiorina: ‘We must be prepared’ to use force on Russia, The Hill, 1 October 2015

■ Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio Would Risk War With Russia In Order To Enforce Safe Zone In Syria. What could go wrong? Huffington Post, 5 October 2015

■ Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton calls for no-fly zone in Syria, 1 October 2015

■ Joe Biden

Let me risk ridicule by mentioning the ruthless Vladimir Putin and the clueless Joe Biden in the same sentence: The emergence of Putin abroad and Biden at home could reshape the 2016 Republican presidential race…And if Republicans don’t win, we face the prospect of living in Vladimir Putin’s world and Joe Biden’s America.

William Kristol [co-founder of the Project for the New American Century with Robert Kagan], Putin, Biden, and the GOP, Weekly Standard, 5 October 2015

 

A chance for peace in a multipolar world

World

No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be an enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for #‎peace‬ and ‪#‎fellowship‬ and #‎justice‬. No nation’s security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective #‎cooperation with fellow-nations. Every nation’s right to a form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable. Any nation’s attempt to dictate to other nations their form of government is indefensible. A nation’s hope of lasting peace cannot be firmly based upon any race in armaments but rather upon just relations and honest understanding with all other nations.
U.S. President #‎Eisenhower, ‘Chance for Peace’ address, 1953

 

In today’s multicultural world, the truly reliable path to coexistence, to peaceful coexistence and creative cooperation, must start from what is at the root of all cultures and what lies infinitely deeper in human hearts and minds than political opinion, convictions, antipathies, or sympathies – it must be rooted in self-transcendence: ‪#‎transcendence as a hand reached out to those close to us, to foreigners, to the human community, to all living creatures, to nature, to the universe; transcendence as a deeply and joyously experienced need to be in harmony even with what we ourselves are not, what we do not understand, what seems distant from us in time and space, but with which we are nevertheless mysteriously linked because, together with us, all this constitutes a single world; transcendence as the only real alternative to #‎extinction.
Czech President Vaclav #‎Havel‬, 1994

 

The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal ‪#‎fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life, of every man and every woman, the poor, the elderly, children, the infirm, the unborn, the unemployed, the abandoned, those considered disposable because they are only considered as part of a statistic. This common home of all men and women must also be built on the understanding of a certain sacredness of created nature.
Such understanding and respect call for a higher degree of #‎wisdom‬, one which accepts #‎transcendence, rejects the creation of an all-powerful élite, and recognizes that the full meaning of individual and collective life is found in selfless service to others and in the sage and respectful use of creation for the common good. To repeat the words of Paul VI, “the edifice of modern civilization has to be built on spiritual principles, for they are the only ones capable not only of supporting it, but of shedding light on it” (ibid.).
El Gaucho Martín Fierro, a classic of literature in my native land, says: “Brothers should stand by each other, because this is the first law; keep a true bond between you always, at every time – because if you fight among yourselves, you’ll be devoured by those outside.”
Pope #‎Francis‘s speech to the UN, 25 September 2015

Francis & Xi

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Over the past years, there has been a growing cultural interest in Christianity even among the upper echelons of the Communist Party close to President Xi Jinping

The details of Catholic practice, however, are extremely complicated and it is hard to predict whether they will be respected and followed during every such ceremony to be held in the future.

Many people in Beijing and Vatican are eager to scuttle the ties between China and the Holy See. Against this background, the recent ceremony in Anyang came as a clear sign of “parallel consensus”, as Falasca noted in Avvenire.

This consensus seems to be hinging on a growing mutual recognition of the principles each stands for.

The consecration comes just a month before Xi Jinping and the Pope are likely to be present in New York.

On several occasions, Pope Francis had expressed his willingness to meet Xi Jinping.

[…]

In the past, many Chinese intellectuals had underlined ties with Vatican which, they argued, could help the world, especially the West, understand China better.

The next few months will be very crucial for this extremely important relationship.

http://atimes.com/2015/08/beijing-vatican-ties-on-the-mend/

Francis, the first pope from Latin America, was elected pontiff on March 13, 2013.
On the very next day, Xi Jinping became the new president of the People’s Republic of China.
Both are trying to purge and reform the institutions they head, and they are about to make History.