One of the more common Christian precepts is that greed and decadence lead to corruption and the eventual collapse of societies. This is an observation made by Jesus 2000 years ago.
In Luke 21, a widow, passing by a receptacle strategically placed for making gifts to the Temple, is observed by Jesus dropping in two small coins. Taking note of her, he turns to his disciples and remarks:
I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.
It is a commentary upon the corruption of society at that time, with Jesus contrasting the greed and avarice of the wealthy–seemingly the majority of those present–with the humble piety of this lone widow. And apparently the sight triggered a premonition in his mind, for immediately upon making his observation on the widow, Jesus launches into his prophecy of coming wars and destruction–destruction not only of Jerusalem and the temple (wherein “not one stone will be left on another,” and which indeed happened 40 years later), but seemingly destruction of the earth itself–in which “heavenly bodies will be shaken” while whole nations and peoples will find themselves caught up in “anguish” and “terror.”
The reason I mention it is because I spent several minutes reading the full text of Trump’s speech before the South Korea National Assembly. It is one of the most insane, warmongering speeches I’ve heard/read from any US official, and ranks right up there with John McCain’s “bomb-bomb-bomb Iran” remarks of several years ago.
The speech runs well in excess of 3,000 words, and throughout most of it Trump engages in childish, simplistic–almost school-boyish–demonization of North Korea and its leadership. Here are a few examples:
“An estimated 100,000 North Koreans suffer in gulags, toiling in forced labor, and enduring torture, starvation, rape, and murder on a constant basis”
“North Korean women are forced to abort babies that are considered ethnically inferior. And if these babies are born, the newborns are murdered”
“The horror of life in North Korea is so complete that citizens pay bribes to government officials to have themselves exported aboard as slaves. They would rather be slaves than live in North Korea”
As far as I can tell, none of the revered “fact checkers” have attempted to verify any of this. It is simply taken for granted, I guess, that no enemy of the United States can be other than the personification of evil. Does Trump have the slightest clue as to why smaller nations might want to develop nuclear weapons as a deterrent to US invasions? The text of the speech gives no indication that he does.
Just a few days before Trump’s stop in Seoul, news broke of a Pentagon risk assessment of a possible US attack upon the DPRK. The Pentagon strategists determined that “forcible removal of nuclear weapons from North Korea would require a bloody and protracted ground war” that would leave an estimated 300,000 dead on both sides just within the first few days, this according to a report on the assessment published by Sputnik–an article which notes that the assessment was carried out at the request of two members of Congress, one of whom referred to the findings as “grim.”
The grimness of the matter seems to have been lost upon Trump, however, as he hinted at the possibility of military engagement with the North.
“Currently stationed in the vicinity of this peninsula are the three largest aircraft carriers in the world loaded to the maximum with magnificent F-35 and F-18 fighter jets,” he extolled in his speech before the National Assembly. “In addition, we have nuclear submarines appropriately positioned. The United States, under my administration, is completely rebuilding its military and is spending hundreds of billions of dollars to the newest and finest military equipment anywhere in the world being built, right now. I want peace through strength.”
In demonizing North Korea while bragging about US military might, Trump clearly is fanning the flames of war. But it isn’t just North Korea. Another target is Iran. Trump’s threats to tear up the international nuclear agreement were given extra impetus by escalating tensions over a ballistic missile fired recently into Saudi Arabia from Yemen.
“It was an Iranian missile, launched by Hizballah from territory occupied by the Houthis in Yemen,” claimed the Saudi foreign minister on November 6, three days after the attack.
No evidence was produced to verify the Saudi claims, yet that same day Trump gave the Saudis his blessings, tweeting: “I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing…”
This comes after Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner made an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia in late October–his third trip to the kingdom this year.
The Saudi campaign in Yemen has created starvation and a cholera epidemic and has been carried out with US assistance, this coming in the form of intelligence assistance as well as midair refueling of Saudi bombers–and through it all the people of Yemen have been caught up in “anguish” and “terror.”
As have the people of Syria…and Iraq…and possibly soon the Korean peninsula.
In addition to vilifying the DPRK, Trump at the same time, in his speech in Seoul, waxed panegyrically on the US, claiming we are “going through something of a miracle,” that “our stock market is at an all-time high” while unemployment “is at a 17-year low.” The plaudits in praise of America were almost as cartoonish as the railing vituperations against North Korea.
Perhaps Trump should have told his distinguished audience that we are also $20 trillion in debt; that we have an Israeli lobby that wields enormous influence; a media that churns out propaganda on a scale far vaster than the North Koreans; central bankers who print money out of thin air; and Americans numbering in the millions who, like the widow observed by Jesus, are so poor they barely have two copper coins to rub together. He could also have mentioned that we have a deep state run by maniacs intent on staying in power even if it means killing a billion or more people. All of this would have been true.