Christianity was once so localized to Europe that the term “Christendom” largely meant Europe. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the last outpost of Christian rule in the East was lost. The history of Medieval Europe was flecked with Christians holding back Islam. The Battle of Tours in France prevented the overrunning of Western Europe by Muslims. The Reconquista in 1492 ended the remnants of Muslim rule in Iberia. The Battle of Lepanto ended the threat of Muslim naval power in the Mediterranean.
On Monday, Gordon Chang, the author of The Coming Collapse of China and regular contributor at Forbes.com, was interviewed on Yahoo’s Daily Ticker, where he observed, “If you look at all of [China’s] indicators, they all point down.”
Vaclav Havel, a Czech playwright and political figure who became Czechoslovakia’s President following a non-violent uprising in 1989 that ended decades of Soviet rule in that country, died December 18 at the age of 75. Almost immediately upon news of his passing, eulogies lionizing Havel as one of the great “liberators” of the 20th century began flooding the print, broadcast, and Internet media.
Is it certain that the nations of the European Union are heading for a hard fall? It certainly looks that way. When the overspending of governments such as Greece, Portugal, and Ireland were involved, the threat to the euro was real, but it could be psychologically contained (an important factor in maintaining the stability of financial institutions). Those three nations, after all, are small. Spain, the fourth member of the “PIGS,” was more than half the size of the Italian economy, but much of the industrialized West has viewed Mediterranean nations as inherently volatile.
North Korea’s official government-controlled media announced that the country’s “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-Il, died on Saturday at age 69 from “physical and mental overwork.” A teary-eyed TV anchorwoman claimed, “It is the biggest loss by the party … and it is our people and nation’s biggest sadness … [but we must] change our sadness to strength and overcome our difficulties.”
Last November, the British coalition government introduced a new requirement into immigration rules: The immigrant must be know the English language. The rule was challenged by Rashida Chapti and Vali Chapti, two Indians in their 50s. Rashida speaks English but Vali, her husband of 37 years, does not. Currently the couple lives separately because of that obstacle. In their lawsuit, the couple claimed that the language requirement violated their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to family life and the right to marry.
On Monday, President Obama, with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (left), announced that American forces had helped create a “new Iraq.” During a closed-door meeting after the public gathering with Maliki, Obama told reporters: “People throughout the region will see a new Iraq that’s determining its own destiny, a county in which people from different religious sects and ethnicities can resolve their differences peacefully through the democratic process.”
Two big agencies operating under the umbrella of the United Nations will not make public how they spend their money. UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, is intended to benefit poor children around the world and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is intended to provide for global population control. The agencies had $3.2 billion in cash in 2009, and yet they refused to tell the consulting firm IDC hired to prepare a study for the Norwegian development agency called “NORAD” how that money was spent.
A United States of Europe — minus recalcitrant Great Britain — is nearly upon us; thus saith Forbes magazine. “The euro, in its old form, has fallen into crisis and the price European countries have to pay is a large loss of sovereignty,” writes Clem Chambers (left) in the Establishment conservative magazine. Chambers continues:
As reported by Annika Breidthardt for RealClearMarkets.com, the latest European crisis summit that ended last weekend resulted in “a historic agreement to draft a new treaty” which she then characterized as “too little, too late.” Reaction of the equity and currency markets agreed, with substantial losses in American and European stock markets opening the week, and the euro dropping to lows not seen since last February.
The negative fruits of multiculturalism were on display in the UK’s court system this week.
A British judge set free a gang of Somali women who had severely beaten a white woman in full view of a surveillance camera. Meanwhile, a group of magistrates jailed a white woman — supposedly for her own safety — after she unbosomed an expletive-laced anti-immigrant tirade on a tram.