Today’s Foreign-Affairs Roundup

By Akhilesh Pillalamarri

Here are some interesting stories relevant to foreign affairs from today, Friday, March 31:

Pakistan is no friend to America. Christine Fair lays into Pakistan’s alleged duplicity at The National Interest.

Don’t Underestimate Russia. A warning from history about the intelligence costs of not taking Russia seriously from War On The Rocks.

Israel is keeping tabs on the spread of Russian influence near its borders. As reported: “A senior Israeli source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, ‘The way that Putin pushed the United States out of the Middle East and became the dominant power in the region will be studied one day in schools of strategy.’”

India may be rethinking its nuclear doctrine. India has long followed a “no first use” nuclear rule, but may be rethinking this in light of its evolving security understanding. From The New York Times.

Saudi Arabia Pivots to Asia. The Diplomat explores King Salman’s recent trip to his east, perhaps fueled by doubts over the relations between the Kingdom and the United States.

…read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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By Rod Dreher

Your Working Boy, Peter Augustine Lawler, and James Patterson, at LSU last weekend.

Last week I was at the Ciceronian Society conference in Baton Rouge, and unforgivably failed to have a conversation with Peter Lawler in the hospitality suite. Never did get past great conversations at the bar. Here’s a short piece Peter wrote about the Benedict Option, Walker Percy, and American Stoicism. Excerpt:

It was inevitable that I was asked what I thought of Rod’s fine (and hugely successful) new book on the BO. Well, for one thing, our country can always use more BO, which means more people living like the Benedictines and more people living in highly civilized, highly relational, countercultural ways in general.

Now, a dumb thing I said is that Walker Percy liked and I like TV too much to be whole-hog on the BO front. But, you know, it turns out that Percy was an oblate (or sort of fellow traveler) of the Benedictines of St. Joseph’s Abbey in his chosen home of Covington, La. And he’s buried on the grounds of that abbey.

Nobody thought more highly of the Benedictines than he did, although he wasn’t actually called to be one. So a more serious answer is that I thought that the BO often needs a dose of American Stoicism — or the virtues of magnanimity and generosity (and some honor in general) to supplement Christian love. That means, among other things, that people living the Benedictine Option aren’t absolved of their relational duties to the wider community and to their country. To some extent, the actual Benedictines can be given a pass, but their monasteries are single-sex and don’t include children.

You can read the whole thing, and should, but I await Peter’s promised follow-up, in which he explains what you might call The American Stoic Option. (The Uncle Will Option?) Peter writes:

Today, the option it presents is virtuous alternatives to the intrusive expert scripting of ordinary lives by Democrats such as Hillary Clinton, the demagogic populism that deforms Trumpism, and the oligarchic individualism of too much of establishment conservatism. For a primer on democratized Southern Stoicism, I suggest you review the fabulous TV series Friday Night Lights.

I want to know more. Come on, Peter, unpack that sucker! By the way, I cannot agree more strongly that everybody ought to watch Friday Night Lights, the greatest TV series ever made.

Hey, if you haven’t bought your tickets yet for Walker Percy Weekend (June 2-4), don’t miss out. They’re going fast. If you’re a Benedict Option reader, you’ll want to hear Ralph Wood lecture on Walker Percy and the Benedict Option. And if you are a reader of The World’s Largest Man, one of the funniest books I have ever read (not kidding!), then you will want to come hear author Harrison Scott Key talk about it and tell Southern stories.

I told Mama that she needed to read the Key book. She called last night to say that a) she killed a cottonmouth that …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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How an incredible and surreal vision of Jesus turned my life upside down

By Douglas MacKinnon As we approach Easter, a number of people — Christian Ministers and priests included — have encouraged me to share the backstory of how the content for The Forty Days – A Vision of Christ’s Lost Weeks, came to me. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Sen. Mitch McConnell: Why Trump’s energy executive order will restore sanity after Obama’s failed climate policies

By Mitch McConnell We all want clean air, we all want clean water, we all want a better environment. But that’s not what former President Obama’s regulatory scheme was really about… …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Sen. Mitch McConnell: Why Trump’s energy executive order will restore sanity after Obama’s climate failed policies

By Mitch McConnell We all want clean air, we all want clean water, we all want a better environment. But that’s not what former President Obama’s regulatory scheme was really about… …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Deep Benedict

By Rod Dreher

The altar of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica, in the crypt of the basilica in Norcia. This altar is now buried under rubble from the earthquake

Hey readers, I will be traveling today, to the Symposium on Advancing the New Evangelization, held this weekend at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. I will be talking about — surprise! — The Benedict Option, and what Christians seeking to evangelize this post-Christian world can learn from the Benedictine monks.

As I was writing my speech, I revisited Chapter 3 of the book, which is its heart. It’s based on my visit to the monastery at Norcia, and my interviews with some of the monks there. It is predictable, I guess, but this has been the chapter that reviewers and commenters have focused on the least — even though it’s the most important one! Here’s an excerpt:

The next morning I met Father Cassian inside the monastery for a talk. He stands tall, his short hair and beard are steel-gray, and his demeanor is serious and, well, monklike. But when he speaks, in his gentle baritone, you feel as if you are talking to your own father. Father Cassian speaks warmly and powerfully of the integrity and joy of the Benedictine life, which is so different from that of our fragmented modern world.

Though the monks here have rejected the world, “there’s not just a no; there’s a yes too,” Father Cassian says. “It’s both that we reject what is not life-giving, and that we build something new. And we spend a lot of time in the rebuilding, and people see that too, which is why people flock to the monastery. We have so much involvement with guests and pilgrims that it’s exhausting. But that is what we do. We are rebuilding. That’s the yes that people have to hear about.”

Rebuilding what? I asked.

“To use Pope Benedict’s phrase, which he repeated many times, the Western world today lives as though God does not exist,” he says. “I think that’s true. Fragmentation, fear, disorientation, drifting—those are widely diffused characteristics of our society.”

Yes, I thought, this is exactly right. When we lost our Christian religion in modernity, we lost the thing that bound ourselves together and to our neighbors and anchored us in both the eternal and the temporal orders. We are adrift in liquid modernity, with no direction home.

And this monk was telling me that he and his brothers in the

Father Cassian Folsom, February 2016

monastery saw themselves as working on the restoration of Christian belief and Christian culture. How very Benedictine. I leaned in to hear more.

This monastery, Father Cassian explained, and the life of prayer within it, exist as a sign of contradiction to the modern world. The guardrails have disappeared, and the world risks careering off a cliff, but we are so captured by the lights and motion of modern life that we don’t recognize the danger. The forces of dissolution from popular culture are too great for individuals or families, to resist on …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Kimberley Strassel: Dem spin can’t hide evidence Nunes is right

By Kimberley A. Strassel California Rep. Adam Schiff may not offer much by way of substance, but give him marks for political flimflam. The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee was so successful at ginning up fake outrage over his Republican counterpart that he successfully buried this week’s only real (and bombshell) news. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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