The North Korea Conundrum

Why does Trump need to continue to pressure on a nuclear North Korea?

If there is one lesson for U.S. foreign policy in the last 15 years is that military intervention can seem simple, but it is in fact very complex. A military invasion has the option for intended consequences that not even the best planner can anticipate.

So I am glad that the Trump Administration is studying all the options on North Korea. President Trump and his team of experienced advisors are taking the time to arrive at a smart policy rather than shooting first and having to ask important questions later.

The national-security issues surrounding North Korea goes deeper than just nuclear weapons. The problem with Pyongyang is a much larger issue. North Korea is experiencing a genuine awakening with having a nuclear capability. Kim Jung Un, the profanity-prone, paranoid tyrant, is leading his citizens to the precipice of an unrecoverable disaster. Kim’s story is as fascinating as he is terrifying. A nuclear North Korea with Kim at the helm is a recipe for destruction.

For the U.S., this current situation presents a compelling opportunity. For nearly seven decades, North Korea has regarded Washington as the ultimate enemy because it was the principal supporter of South Korea, the region’s leading democracy. North Korea wants nukes to even the playing field with America, a country that represents everything North Korea hates. The U.N. (with significant U.S. help) defeated them in a war nearly 70 years ago. Kim’s obsession with destroying America and unifying the Korean Peninsula has produced a very real national-security problem: the rise of a nuclear North Korea that directly threatens the U.S.

North Korea’s first argument against the U.S. is that supports the “tyranny” of the government of South Korea. Kim’s view is ironic seeing how Kim oppresses his own people and more than a quarter of North Korean have died from starvation and famine while he pursues a nuclear missile at the expense of his citizens.

Now in the latest crisis, the U.S. has a chance to break the dysfunctional dynamic that produces so much hatred and violence, but at what cost? A war with North Korea will cost over a trillion dollars and leave millions, …yes millions, dead while devastating the region. The war would cause the biggest refugee crisis since World War II and make Syria’s refugee issues seem very, very small. The outcome of the war would be terrible. The result would be mass slaughter of North and South Koreans.

The Trump Administration has properly aligned itself with hopes and aspirations of the world by asking China to intervene. President Trump has called on allies from all over the region to engage in severe reform and sanctions against North Korea. It would be great if Kim would step down, but that will never happen. For Kim to survive a war with America would be a humiliation for Washington at the moment in history when the world is watching. Kim right now faces sanctions and isolation with his continued nuclear tests. All of this makes Kim anxious to stay in power. This crisis has been an opportunity for the U.S. to align with partners in the region- South Korea, Japan, and China- to contain a nuclear North Korea.

So the U.S. must follow through in its efforts to get contain Kim, pulling all the diplomatic levers and seek maximum multilateral and international support to stop Kim from getting nukes. If the North Koreans ask for assistance and aid to feed its starving people in exchange to stop testing missiles, then Washington should move in that direction.

The U.S. military is already directly in the conflict by beefing up its presence in the region. This buildup really makes little difference. Kim’s main advantage is not in the air but on the ground. He has tanks, armored vehicles, a fanatical 2 million-man army devoted to him, and massive firepower all pointed at Seoul. The basic question is how to shift the balance away from Kim and towards resolution without bloodshed.

What kind of war would the U.S. wage against North Korea?

There is no doubt that the U.S. military is ready and able to defeat North Korea. The American military is at its very best in maneuver warfare. Just look at Desert Storm and the first three weeks in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The American approach to warfare is not on overpowering an enemy but on outflanking him, targeting his weaknesses and destroying him. Nobody does this better than the U.S. military. The post-Vietnam army was built, deliberately, for short, conventional, decisive conflict just like the one we face in North Korea. Moreover, we know the terrain, the people and the culture better than other foreign places in the world because we have been on the Korean Peninsula for nearly seventy years.

What should the U.S. do about North Korea?

  1. Military planners are urging President Trump to go slow with North Korea. Make sure that all avenues of diplomacy have failed before launching a military option. A nuclear North Korea with weapons of mass destruction is a scary thought.
  2. Don’t go to war without NATO or the United Nations.

Our greatest threat is from the unpredictability of North Korea. We don’t know what Pyongyang will do next. We don’t really have a good system for combating a rogue nuclear threat.

There is no doubt that we would wallop North Korea in a conventional war, just as we did in the Korean War (1950-1953). The war with North Korea never really ended. The war ended in a ceasefire and armistice. North Korea has been a major seller of rocket technology to Iran and Syria. So, it is a sponsor of terrorism.

North Korea Conundrum

America is very good at using military power to project its foreign policy goals. The problem with using military force is that you sometimes make mistakes and you create enemies, and you get bogged into another quagmire. The best example is the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. We are still dealing with ISIS almost 15 years later.

The problem with North Korea is that there is no magic bullet. The best way to prevent a nuclear North Korea is to prevent Kim from turning his missile tests into an area of strength. That needs to be done on the diplomatic end. So, we need to keep doing that until all other options have been exhausted.

Keeping strategic priorities focused on containing a North Korean nuclear threat first. Then, if necessary, you go after Kim Jung Un or his weapons of mass destruction capability. It’s high time that we force Kim Jung Un to comply with U.N. Security Council Resolutions. But, in doing that, as always, the use of force should be a last resort.

 

Moses, Egypt, and the Promised Land

The ancient town of Beersheba is significant for one more reason in the Bible. Jacob after learning that his son Joseph was still alive passed through Beersheba on his way to Egypt. Jacob and all the families of his son stopped at Beersheba to make sacrifices to God. It was the closing of a chapter. God’s people would spend the next 400 years in Egypt.

Beersheba

The Hebrews would grow into a great nation in Egypt. They would await their return to a land that God had sworn to them. The relied on God’s faithfulness to stay faithful to the covenant He made. By the time, that God had chosen Moses to be the leader who would lead the Israelites out of Egypt, God’s people had grown to a vast number. No one knows for sure how many Israelites there were. Some Biblical scholars say as many as two and a half million.

The Hebrews were indeed a nation. They had endured many generations of harsh slavery, God had not forgotten them and had heard their cries for deliverance. God’s answer was Moses. Moses was God’s chosen Deliverer to lead His people through the Red Sea.

Moses was an orphan, a murderer, a shepherd and a reluctant orator. He was also a religious leader, a lawgiver, a prophet and a historian. The authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed to Moses.  Moses is the most important prophet and historical figure in Judaism.

The Exodus and the crossing of the Red Sea are dated to around 1250 B.C. The Exodus is the most dramatic and pivotal event in the Old Testament. It marks the liberation of God’s people but not their entry into the Promised Land. That would come 40 years after the Exodus from Egypt.

Moses

Literally, on the doorstep of the Promised Land in Kadesh- Barnea the newly freed Israelites refused to go on. Despite the reports that the Promised Land flowed with milk and honey, Hebrew spies also reported the land was filled with giants.

For their faithlessness, God condemned the Hebrews to stay in the desert until that generation had passed away. Moses also died and did not go into the Promised Land. His death is the final event recorded in the Pentateuch or the first five books of the Bible. Moses’ death concluded the 40-year prohibition on entry into the Promised Land.

Joshua, Moses’ brother, was raised up to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. He was commissioned to conquer the Land of Canaan. Afterwards, the land was allocated to Israel’s twelve tribes. In Joshua Chapter 10, we read about a group of Canaanite armies that had joined together against Joshua, the Israelites and their allies the Gibeonites. One by one the Israelites destroyed these city-states for rallying against them.

The tel of Lachish is one of the largest and most significant mounds of the Biblical period in Israel. Lachish is the site for some fantastic and very reliable archeological discoveries. Lachish was assigned to the tribe of Judah.

As the centuries went by, God’s people became established in the land they had been promised. By the 10th century B.C., Jerusalem, or the City of David, was the capital city of Israel. Over time Jerusalem became the target of the Assyrians and Babylonians owed a debt of gratitude to the fortress of a town in the south called Lachish.

Lachish was one of the several fortified cities guarding the canyons or wadis leading up to Jerusalem in the north. To lay siege to Jerusalem or the surrounding region of Judah, an invading army would first have to take Lachish. Lachish guarded the final mountain pass to Jerusalem.

The easiest way for an attacking army to lay siege to Jerusalem was to conquer Lachish. Taking Lachish would make sure that your army was safe from a counterattack on your flank. This reason is what made Lachish built for war. Since the reign of King Solomon in the 10th century B.C., Lachish became a mighty walled fortress. There was a six-chambered gate similar to the ones built at strategic locations like Megiddo.

Under Israelite King Rehoboam (c. 930–915 B.C.), grandson of David, the kingdom of Israel became divided due to high taxes. The ten northern tribes broke away to form the Kingdom of Israel in the North. They made their capital Samaria. King Rehoboam and the remaining tribes of Benjamin and Judah became the Kingdom of Judah. Their capital remained in Jerusalem. Rehoboam reinforced Lachish even more. In time, besides Jerusalem, Lachish became the most city in the Kingdom of Judah.

Back east, in modern day Iraq, in the Kingdom of Nineveh, a king named Sennacherib rose to power. Sennacherib and his Assyrian army first attacked the Kingdom of Israel in the north. They were able to conquer Israel with Samaria being taken in 721 B.C.Next on his list was the Kingdom of Judah. In the revolt of 701 B.C. of King Hezekiah against Assyria, Sennacherib attacked the Kingdom of Judah. He laid siege to Lachish.

We know this for a fact because the event is uniquely recorded. First, you can read about it in the Bible. Second cuneiform prism chronicle the same events. The third source is the significant archeological evidence found at Tel Lachish. Fourth are incredibly detailed reliefs that were uncovered in Sennacherib’s palace in Nineveh.

They are now displayed at the Israel Museum. The victorious Assyrians cover their win in the Lachish Reliefs. King Sennacherib would bask in the glory of his victory over the Israelites. At Tel Lachish, archeologists have discovered the Assyrian battle layer, which included hundreds of Assyrian arrowheads. There were approximately 1500 skulls in nearby caves.

Excavation also unveiled a stone and dirt siege ramp that the Assyrians built up to the city wall. Assyrian infantry used the ramp to charge the wall into the city. You can see the siege ramp in the Assyrian Lachish Relief. Sennacherib and the Assyrians continued to Jerusalem after sacking Lachish. Jerusalem was never taken. Over time the Assyrian empire began to disintegrate. That didn’t mean that Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Judah were in the clear.

In the 7th century, B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians became the dominant power in the ancient Near East. It was Nebuchadnezzar’s turn to thump on the rebellious Judeans. The Babylonians took Jerusalem in 586 B.C., but before they did, they had to defeat Lachish once again. This battle is confirmed in the Bible as written by the Prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 36:6-7-

6 Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem

7 when the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the remaining cities of Judah, that is, Lachish and Azekah, for they alone remained as fortified cities among the cities of Judah that remained.

The mound and broken artifacts of the ancient city of Lachish reinforce the story of the Bible. Lachish also closes another chapter in Israel’s story. The nation of Israel had begun as a family.  The Patriarchs dealt directly with and were faithful to God.

Then came the Exodus where they transferred into leadership by prophets and military leaders. Then once the Hebrews were settled into the Promised Land, they were led by a King after they begged God for one.

As Israel’s leadership change so did their loyalty. They tended toward rebellion and idolatry. It wasn’t long until Israel was split in half and endured famine and constant warfare almost destroyed the nation. Later the Israelites were carried off into exile.

A nation in exile was probably was not the picture that Abraham had in mind when God promised him that his descendants would be a great nation. God never abandons His people. The Lord’s promises were pointing towards something greater. Something amazing that no one could have ever imagined- Jesus Christ.

Why did Trump move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem?

“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I direct to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the new embassy will be a magnificent tribute to peace.”

–  President Donald Trump

Why did Trump move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem?

President Donald Trump’s announcement on Wednesday of moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem marks a major change in the American policy on the Middle East.

Recognizing Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of Israel is a seismic shift of seven decades of U.S.-led neutrality between Israelis and Palestinians. Both Israel and the Palestinian State claim Jerusalem as their capital. The move signifies that the U.S. recognizes Israel as the legitimate, sovereign and rightful heir to the ancient city.

Jerusalem is one of the holiest and ancient cities in the world. It is home to holy sites of Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Jerusalem sits in the middle of the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

After the founding of Israel in 1948, the first Arab-Israeli War erupted. It resulted in the Egyptian occupation of Gaza and the Jordanian occupation of the West Bank.

For years, a brutal civil war erupted between Palestinian guerrillas and a series of reprisal attacks by Israeli commandos. The region was caught up in the Cold War. The Arab nations surrounding Israel were getting arms from the Soviets. America and France supported Israel.

For years, Jerusalem was divided between Israeli and Palestinian control with an occupying Jordanian force. In the 1967 Six-Day War Israel captured East Jerusalem. In a matter of days, the Israelis pushed the Jordanians out of Jerusalem. Even though the Israelis signed an armistice, they continued to occupy the lands they had taken while the peace process was underway. The Israelis saw the capture of East Jerusalem as a “reunification” of their ancient capital.

The international community has never recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the entirety of Jerusalem.  No countries have embassies in Jerusalem, but a few countries, including the U.S., have consulates there. All past Presidents have thought moving a U.S. embassy there would be too dangerous.

Many American conservative evangelical Christians believe a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem shows American support for Israel. Evangelical Christians make-up the biggest pro-Israel bloc in the U.S. American Christian support of Israel comes from the belief that Israel is the Holy Land promised to God’s chosen people, and God blesses those who bless the Jews.

Jerusalem

President Trump’s move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is a recognition of the sovereignty of Israel. Recognition of Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of Israel places the U.S. on the side of the democratic and Jewish state. This bold move will have repercussions for both U.S. security and diplomacy in the region.

 

Why did the Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor?

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

– President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Seventy-six years ago today, the Japanese carried out a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Why did the Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor?

The Rise of Imperial Japan

Compared with the great Axis powers like Germany and Italy in the 1930s, Japan was a newcomer to world politics. Japan was the only Asian nation with ambitions to become a world power. Overcrowding cramped the principal islands, which make up Japan. Japan called itself an empire, but its imperial possessions consisted of the island of Formosa, now called Taiwan, Korea and the southern part of the island of Sakhalin.

It had few natural resources of its own, but the Japanese warlords believed that Japan had a destiny, to rule not only Asia but also the entire world. Fulfilling that destiny was not only a lifeline for desperately needed resources- rice, minerals, fibers, and oil- but a sacred duty.

Their emperor was divine, they believed, he was the 124th descendant of their sun goddess. The emperor was regarded with such awe that his given name was never mentioned. The highest honor a Japanese soldier could achieve was to die for the emperor in battle.

As in all totalitarian countries, young children in Japan were filled with these beliefs. In unfolding their plan for world conquest, the Japanese knew they must first conquer China. Japan needed a base to attack China. It invaded Manchuria, a Mongolian state in the far north of the Chinese mainland.

To this end, Japan declared war on China in 1937. This declaration resulted in the Nanking Massacre and other atrocities against the Chinese.

In just four days, it occupied southern Manchuria. Shortly afterward, the whole state. The world was outraged. Japan was called to account for actions in front of the League of Nations. The League of Nations was supposed to keep the peace. Japan was a member of the League of Nations. Delegates of peace-loving nations condemned Japan’s aggression. Japan knew that almost no army could stop them. Japan simply quit the League of Nations.

Tensions Rise

Next, in 1940, Japan invaded French Indochina (Vietnam) to seize all imports into China, including war supplies China had bought from the U.S.

At this same time, Japan had signed a pact with Germany and Italy. This pact formed the Axis powers. This pact guaranteed assistance if any of its members were attacked by a country not already at war. This pact was intended to keep the U.S. out of World War II.

After Japan invaded Indochina, the U.S. started embargoing certain goods to Japan. To make matters worse, the U.S. was increasing its military presence in the Philippines. This escalated tensions due to Japan’s proximity to the Philippines.

Soon the U.S. placed a strict oil embargo on Japan. This ban was joined by the U.K. and the Netherlands, who stopped providing much-needed tin and rubber to Japan from their Asian colonies. This restriction was a devastating and humiliating blow to Tokyo. The Japanese estimated they only had two years of oil remaining. Japan needed oil and other resources to continue their conquest of the Pacific. Just America stood in the way of the Japanese conquest of the Pacific.

American officials responded to this Japanese aggression with a battery of economic sanctions and trade embargoes. The Americans reasoned that without access to money and goods, and especially essential supplies like oil, Japan would have to cut back on its expansion campaign in the Pacific.

Instead, the sanctions made the Japanese more determined to stand their ground. At this point, the Japanese conquered territory for over a decade without opposition.  Months of negotiations between Tokyo and Washington, D.C., neither side would budge. It seemed that war was all but inevitable.

Japan knew that they would lose a war with the U.S. given America’s manpower, material, and resources.  Japan believed that a pre-emptive strike on the U.S. Pacific Fleet was their best choice.

Why attack Pearl Harbor?

The Japanese carried out a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The attack was motivated by the imperialist aspirations of the Japanese in the Pacific region.

America possessed the strongest naval fleet and was the only real threat to Japanese expansion. The U.S. was opposed to Japanese expansion in the Pacific. Japan’s demands were not being achieved through diplomacy.

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was the home of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The Japanese thought if Pearl Harbor were destroyed, the Americans would feel demoralized and not want to fight.

The Japanese were convinced that a devastating attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet would dishearten the Americans. Eventually, that demoralization would lead to cracks in the fabric of American society and take America out of an active role in World War II.

The Attack

Two aerial attack waves of 353 Japanese fighter planes were launched from six Japanese aircraft carriers. The Japanese strategic aim was to protect their advance into the Dutch East Indies and Malaya. Japan needed their natural resources of rubber and oil. The Japanese believed that by neutralizing the U.S. Pacific Fleet, America would be out of the war.

The attacks were successful, but the effects were temporary. Five of eight battleships were sunk. The rest were severely damaged. The worst damage was to the U.S.S. Arizona. Other ships and most of the Hawaii based combat planes were destroyed. More than 2,300 Americans died in the attack.

Battleships burning at Pearl Harbor

On the positive side, critical fuel storage, shipyard, maintenance, and headquarters facilities were not hit. Six of the battleships were repaired. Later, these ships were used to defeat Japan in World War II.

The following day, America declared war on Japan. America had entered World War II.

 

 

 

 

The Holy Land and Covenants

“On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: ‘To your descendants I have given this land…”‘

– Genesis 15:18

These posts are not an attempt to convert anyone. It is my efforts to understand my relationship with Jesus Christ. I hope that you find them entertaining, engaging and informative.

I have been trying to learn about the Bible. I have read a lot of books in my life, but I have never read the Bible until a month ago.

What is the Holy Land?

The Holy Land is at the far eastern end of the blue Mediterranean. It’s the cradle of civilization and where the Christian faith was founded. The Holy Land has been called the Fifth Gospel because like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John it’s where Christians believe events occurred that changed world history.

From Abraham to the Apostles and beyond the Holy Land has had a significant impact on history. The people of the Holy Land have been some of the most studied, pondered and argued over in all of history.

The world’s three main religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all consider the Holy Land, and especially the city of Jerusalem, to be the holiest place on earth. The Holy Land is where the Bible comes dramatically alive.

Who are the Patriarchs?

First, we have to start at the beginning. We have to go back to the Middle Bronze Age to the Era of the Patriarchs.  The Patriarchs were Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob.

We will start with “Father Abraham,” as he is referred to by Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  When we first met this semi-nomadic shepherd named Abram, later named Abraham, is in Genesis Chapter 11.

Up to this point, the Biblical narrative has been downcast and uncertainty. The tragic events of the Garden of Eden have resulted in a broken relationship between God and humankind. After the chaos of the Tower of Babel, we are introduced to Abram, the man who God has chosen to unite and bless humanity.

God tells Abram, “and through your offspring, all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me,” (Genesis 22:18). Abraham believed God’s promises and a covenant was established between them concerning Abraham’s offspring and the land they would inherit.

The beginning of God’s people was established, at least in theory. First Abraham’s wife Sarah, who was barren and aging, would need a son. At God’s request, Abraham lived for a while in various locations: Shechem, Bethel, Hebron and the Negev Desert to name a few.

God did give Abraham a son, several in fact. The first was his son Ishmael. Ishmael was conceived with Hagar, Sarah’s servant, and handmaiden. Later both Ishmael and Hagar were cast out by Abraham by God’s command. Ishmael would go on to become the father of Arab nations.

Abraham’s heir was Isaac. Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah in their old age by supernatural intervention by God. Abraham confirmed his devotion to God by his willingness to sacrifice Isaac.

On Mount Moriah, God stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, provided a substitute. A ram was sacrificed instead to God. The second Patriarch Isaac would go on to become the son that God’s chosen people, the Hebrew nation, would come into existence through.

The third Patriarch was Isaac’s son Jacob. Jacob’s name would literally change to “Israel.” Jacob was a truly fascinating Biblical figure. He was a man worthy of a Greek play. Jacob was a man of great strengths and weaknesses. He was a man of great faith but also, at times, of great fear.

Jacob famously wrestles with God. He has a dream of a ladder where angels descend and ascend heaven. God’s promise of making Abraham’s descendants a great nation would be further fulfilled when Jacob had twelve sons. One of his son, Joseph, would rise to great power in Egypt. Eventually, the families of Jacob’s sons would become the twelve tribes of Israel.

The Hebrews would end up in Egypt because of famine. Over the next 400 years, the Hebrew nation would grow larger and larger while living in Egypt. They eventually became slaves to the rulers of Egypt. They would need God to deliver them out of bondage.

What is Biblical Archeology?

One of the stunning things about Biblical archeology is the scientific discipline didn’t exist until about a 150 years ago. In fact, archeology was even a soft science before the 19th century. Archeology started as treasure hunting for wealthy, self-seeking opportunists.

Due to these half-hearted efforts by these opportunists, many excavations were botched. Many discoveries were lost. When you remove a historical object from its context and surroundings, you lose that information forever.

Something recovered from in a modern, controlled dig has much higher value than something sold by a treasure hunter. Indiana Jones adventures are not what modern archeology is about. Rising academic interests, the invention of new technological tools and systematic approach has changed archeology in the last century. We have learned a lot about the ancient world. Now that the Israelites are back in the Holy Land after 1900 years, many new sites and discoveries have enhanced knowledge of the Bible. Especially from Tels.

What is a “Tel”?

A Tel, also spelled tell, is a mound. In Arabic “tel” means tall. Inside a raised mound are the ancient remains of a city. Ancient cities often experienced natural or cultural disasters. Some of these misfortunes were fires, earthquakes, and assaults from enemy armies.

If an ancient city was destroyed, there was no way to remove all the demolished rubble. So people just built right on top of the ruins. Therefore over the centuries debris and layer would form. For example, the Biblical city of Tel Megiddo, the prophesied site of the Battle of Armageddon, has 26 layers of ruins.

Tels present an exciting challenge for archeologists who literally get to dig through layers of history. They go back in time the deeper they go. The biggest tel in Israel is Tel Hazor. Tel Hazor is barely excavated after three decades. There are ancient layers of history waiting to be discovered.

Tel Beersheba is just a few miles north of the Negev Desert. Tel Beersheba is the ancient southern boundary of the Hebrew people. The phrase, “From Dan to Beersheba” is a Biblical phrase used nine times in the Hebrew Bible to refer to the settled areas of the Tribes of Israel between Dan in the North and Beersheba in the South. This was the boundaries of the Biblical promise land.

Beersheba is a backdrop for many Old Testaments events. Beersheba was occupied as early as 4,000 B.C. The early settlement of Tel Beersheba dates back to 12th Century B.C. during the Judges period in the Bible.

The central theme of Judges is the settlement in the land of Canaan, a period before the monarchy. Beersheba is where two of Samuel’s son judged from. During the reign of King Ahab, the prophet Elijah fled to Beersheba to escape Ahab and Jezebel.

The fortifications of Beersheba date to the 10th century B.C. They are likely the result of Solomon’s building projects. Beersheba has a casemate wall, like those found in other cities which Solomon is known to have built. The city has a chambered gate similar to that in Megiddo.

When we first encounter Beersheba in the Bible, it is the place that Hagar, where Sarah’s servant was sent after she gave birth to Ismael. Despite being banished to Beersheba, God never abandons Hagar. God spoke to and helped Hagar. Her son became quite successful and eventually was the father of the Arab nations.

Beersheba is first mentioned in Genesis 21. Here Beersheba is given its name, meaning “Well of the Oaths.” It’s also called the “Well of the Seven.” It stands for the seven lambs sacrificed for the covenant between Abraham and Abimelech. Abraham is given water rights in Beersheba. Water is a super big deal in this extremely arid part of Israel. A covenant is a formal alliance or agreement made by God with humanity. In ancient Biblical times lambs were sacrificed or cut, and the parties walked between the dead lambs. This was a promise if the covenant was broken, they will be killed and cut apart like the sacrificed lamb.

A covenant more or less defines what it means to be in a relationship with God. Without a covenant no relationship is possible. The covenant that God makes with Abraham is a solemn agreement that God initiates that contains specific promises and demands.

God makes a covenant with Abraham. God appears to Abraham in Genesis 15 as a smoking flame. God (as the flame) passes through the dead animals alone to seal the covenant. Typically both parties pass between the animals. This time only God does. This covenant would not fail because it depended on God alone. The covenant would never be broken.

Covenants are found throughout the Old Testament. God makes one with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David. Then eventually the Prophet Jeremiah pointed towards a new covenant in the future.

Christians believe that the blood of Jesus, in His own words, “the blood of the new covenant.” That Jesus, with His death and resurrection, makes a better and more lasting covenant than all the other covenants made with Abraham and Moses. The new covenant is available to all people, both Jews, and Gentiles.

Grace is favor, or “unmerited favor.” Grace gives salvation. Grace is, God’s unmerited favor sealed through the covenant by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Grace is God’s goodness toward those who have no claim on, nor reason to expect, divine favor. The principal manifestation of God’s grace is in the form of a gift in the sacrifice of His son, Jesus Christ.

Thank you for reading my post, God bless you.

 

 

Helpful Survey for OIF/OEF Combat Vets

Last year I did a helpful survey. The survey was for combat veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. What follows is from my friend Pauline Lubens, a Doctoral Candidate at the University of California, Irvine.

Hopefully, this survey this will help Pauline get some results to help OIF and OEF combat vets who have lost buddies to combat or suicide.

Pauline has interviewed 28 veterans in 11 difference states, but she still needs more participants in order for the number of participants to reach a number that that meets research standards. She asked me to send a message to OIF/OEF combat veterans I know.

Here is the information:

Combat Veterans:

You are invited to participate in an anonymous survey of combat veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan.  The online survey, which takes 15-20 minutes to complete, is being conducted by researchers from the University of California, Irvine who are studying the experiences of OIF and OEF combat vets who have lost military comrades to combat or suicide.

The participation of a large number of vets will help raise awareness of veterans’ issues that have not yet been adequately addressed. After completing the survey, you will be given the opportunity to enter a drawing for one of two $250 Amazon gift cards.

Please use the following link to complete the survey:

 

https://ucisoe.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3dCsP139kYINbSd

Thank you,

Pauline

 

Pauline Lubens, MPH

War and Public Health Lecturer

Doctoral Candidate

Pedagogical Fellow

Program in Public Health

Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences

University of California, Irvine CA 92697

“The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”

Albert Schweitzer

The Korean War- An Introduction

“In the simplest of terms, what we are doing in Korea is this: We are trying to prevent a third world war.”
– President Harry S. Truman, April 16, 1951

What was the Korean War?

The Korean War is often dismissed as America’s “Forgotten War.” Unlike World War II, it did not capture the nation’s attention. There were no dramatic events like the Pearl Harbor bombing to threaten the United States’ national security. The Korean conflict did not arouse the divisive controversy of the war in Vietnam.

In the 1950s, the American people were not inclined to demonstrate against the government. Instead, they mostly ignored the Korean War while it was being fought. The Korean War was not an insignificant conflict.

The brutality of the three-year world had long-lasting military and political ramifications. Unfortunately, the lessons of the Korean War seemed virtually ignored as the United States entered Vietnam a decade later.

For hundreds of years, Korea was dominated by China, its giant neighbor to the north. By the end of the 19th century, the Chinese empire had lost much of its military power. The jutting peninsula would then become the target of Russian expansion. By the turn of the 20th century, imperial Japan had reached across the Sea of Japan to gain control of Korea.

In August 1945, the United States dropped its first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The surrender of Japan to the U.S. and its allies seemed inevitable. Almost simultaneously the Soviet Union also declared war on Japan and sought to coordinate an invasion of the Korean Peninsula with American forces. The Soviets entered Korea from the north, and the U.S. invaded from the south.

With the Japanese subdued, it was agreed that Korea would be divided temporarily along the 38th parallel line for military and administrative purposes during the waning months of World War II. The United States occupied the south, the Soviet Union the north. Initially, both the Soviets and the Americans intended to leave Korea. Both sides presumed that elections would be held to establish a single, unifying government.

The Korean Peninsula

However, each side also wanted to leave behind a nation that was favorable to their beliefs and particular ideology. The Soviets sought a communist Korea, while the United States wished for a democratic Korea.

In the years following World War II, a brooding Cold War dilemma planted the seeds of a conflict yet to surface. Unable to resolve their differences, two rigidly distinct states emerged on the Korean Peninsula.

In the north, the Soviets aided Kim Il Sung, a product of the Soviet military machine, to become its leading political figure. In the south, an aging patriot named Syngman Rhee ascended to power.

Although the U.S. did not particularly like him, Rhee offered a strong anti-communist stance and was committed to maintaining civil order. Although the two political governments existed in Korea in 1947, they were still only provisional governments. This gave the Korean people hope for a negotiated unification. Unfortunately, the negotiations eventually reached an impasse.

The frustrated United States presented the problem before the United Nations. The U.S. asked that a general election be held to resolve the issue. At the time, the United Nations was only a five-year-old organization established in the waning days of World War II. The chief goal of the U.N. was to promote world peace.

The suspicious Soviet Union refused to allow the election to be held in North Korea. Meanwhile, South Korea’s elections legitimized Rhee’s government to the western world. In a separate election, North Korea declared Kim Il Sung the President of the new Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Soviet Union and other communist countries recognized this election and the creation of North Korea as a country. The separate election of 1948 only served to set the stage for an almost certain civil war.

By 1950, both North and South Korea sensed the inevitable. Not only were their armies preparing for war, but both Syngman Rhee and Kim Il Sung declared on several occasions that military force would be necessary to unify Korea.

In the United States, the drama began to unfurl on June 24, 1950.  The American Secretary of State Dean Acheson telephoned President Harry S. Truman. Truman was visiting his home in Independence, Missouri. Acheson said, “Mr. President, I have very serious news. The North Koreans have invaded South Korea.”

New North Korean Missile Capability

Well, Rocket Man Kim is at it again. After a two-month-long hiatus, North Korea tested another missile on Wednesday. This new long-range missile North Korea boasted could hit “the whole mainland of the U.S.” We know that North Korea has made substantial progress in its nuclear program, but the rogue regime is known for exaggeration.

What do we know? What should we believe?

Can a North Korean missile hit the U.S. East Coast?

At this point, probably. North Korea’s missile test on Wednesday shows that North Korea has made considerable strides in extending the range of its intercontinental ballistic missiles. Now it looks North Korea may be able to reach targets on the East Coast of the U.S.A. easily.

Based on the test missile’s trajectory and time of flight, experts say that Wednesday’s launch could travel 8,100 miles. That is a significant development because Washington and New York City are 6,800 miles from Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.

During past tests, North Korean missiles have gone high into the atmosphere. This measures the possible range of a rocket into space. Up to this point, all the test missiles have landed harmlessly in the sea. The North Koreans have avoided hitting any real targets thousands of miles away.

Wednesday’s test reached an altitude of 2,800 miles and covered a distance of about 600 miles, the highest yet. North Korea can now fire a missile on a flatter and lower trajectory around the earth’s surface and reach a much further target during a missile attack. The test on Wednesday has convinced scientists that North Korean missiles are now within range of Washington D.C.

Can North Korea place a nuclear warhead on their long-range missiles?

Best news yet is the obstacle of re-entry for their missiles. A nuclear warhead has to withstand heat, intense pressure, and vibrations as the “re-entry” vehicle coming back through the earth’s atmosphere. Most experts believe, right now,  that North Korea does not have this capability. So far, North Korean missile tests have failed at this. A North Korean nuclear payload probably could not withstand the rigors of a long flight to the United States.

Can the U.S. defend against a North Korean missile attack?

America can defend itself against a single North Korean missile attack launched at mainland U.S.A. The challenge would be trying to defend against multiple missiles at the same time.

Right now, the U.S. military has 36 ground-based interceptors in California and Alaska to defend the U.S. mainland. The Pentagon has plans to add eight more interceptors. The interceptors have proven very effective in tests. Added to this impressive defense grid, the U.S. has missile defense systems in Asia. This defense grid has ship-based radar, interceptors, and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems. This defense system is deployed in South Korea and the U.S. territory of Guam. After Wednesday’s test, the Pentagon is looking for new ways to beef up its missile defense.

Kim at the control.
Credit: AP News

Will Kim Jong Un abandon his nuclear program?

Experts are wary. The North Korean dictator believes that he needs a nuclear-strike capability to be taken seriously. He states having nukes deters any U.S. efforts to topple his regime. In short, nukes keep him power and keeps the U.S. in check.

The North Koreans believe that they stand alone in the world. After the fall of Communism and the collapse of its main support the U.S.S.R. in 1991, North Korea has struggled as a nation. Despite the fact millions of North Korean citizens have died as a result of starvation and widespread famine, Kim and his father have squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on getting nukes.

A North Korean nuclear program is a point of great national pride to a brainwashed almost third-world nation. A nuclear-strike ability allows the tiny Hermit Kingdom to enter the exclusive club of a nuclear superpower. South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the U.S. all treat North Korea with respect, fear and as an equal, all things Kim wants. Why would a man who lusts for power and legitimacy ever give that up?

Dom’s New Book- “A War With North Korea”

Here is the introduction of my new book. The book is free to Amazon Prime members. Please tell me what you think.

Introduction to “A War With North Korea”

If the U.S. goes to war with North Korea, there are many questions that the American people have. What follows is a potential unfolding of events, a few scenarios out of many. I did my best to paint a picture of the current tense situation on the Korean Peninsula. I hope there never is a war with North Korea. It would be a great pity.

An all-out hot war on the Korean Peninsula would be catastrophic. Conservative estimates of casualties of past conflicts have guessed that millions of people, mostly North and South Korean civilians, would die in such a costly war.

War may be the only thing that will force North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to understand clearly that his pursuit of nuclear missiles is useless. This awful fact is something Kim and his military leaders refuse to comprehend. Unfortunately, war and the end of Kim’s regime may be the only option left. Nothing else has seemed to work since 1994 when North Korea started its nuclear program.

President Trump’s decision to go to war with North Korea may be the least awful of all the options available to him a Commander-in-Chief.  Hopefully, in retrospect, twenty plus years later, far removed from the pressures President Trump faces today in December 2017, his critics will see he had few other options that would be better and less costly in casualties than a war with North Korea.

The judgment is clear and decided. A nuclear North Korea cannot happen and cannot exist. A short and decisive war with North Korea will stop the threat of a North Korean invasion into South Korea, and will potentially save countless of lives, both American and North Korean. Finally, an American President will end a nuclear North Korea’s brutalization and blackmail of the people of Asia. Going to war may be the right and only decision. This short e-book attempts to answer all the questions that may arise out that decision.

A War with North Korea Book Cover

Finally, this e-book is not to be taken as an official war manual. It was written to inform and engage. The information should be treated that way. This book is intended for information purposes only.

God bless America and God bless the brave people of South Korea.

Link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077T2FTTX/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1511950562&sr=1-6&keywords=War+with+north+korea

 

Why did President Trump visit Asia?

In an amazing turn of events, President Donald Trump took a dramatic first step toward trying to contain the threat of North Korea by traveling to Asia for 12 days for a series of talks. President Trump’s historic visit to Beijing and other countries in the region began the process of showing the world the seriousness of the situation between the United States and North Korea.

North Korea Building

The relationship with the North Korea and the United States is mired in frustration and confusion that goes back over 70 years.

What’s the history of North Korea and the U.S.?

In 1945, the Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula ended. Soviet troops occupied the north, and U.S. troops the south. The country was divided at the 38th Parallel. In 1946, a Soviet-backed, Red Army-trained Kim Il Sung, leader of the Korean Worker’s Party, was inaugurated. In 1948, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was proclaimed. Kim Il Sung was installed as leader of North Korea.

When South Korea declared its independence in 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, starting the Korean War (1950-1953). The bloody war ended in a stalemate and cost over 33,650 American lives.

President George W. Bush made North Korea a charter member of his “Axis of Evil” in 2002 after the announcement by North Korea of its uranium program. Later in 2008, Pyongyang was taken off that list by the Bush administration to ease nuclear deal negotiations. Fifteen years later things haven’t gotten any better with a younger and more insane dictator at the helm.

President Trump surprised the American people by announcing a planned trip to Asia. His 12-day Asia tour had stops scheduled in Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Over the years, China and the United States have been bitter enemies. The U.S. had never stopped formally recognizing the People’s Republic of China even after Mao Ze Dong’s successful communist takeover in 1949.

The Korean War was the first major conflict of the Cold War. The war pitted the communist North, supported by China and the Soviet Union, against South Korea. The South was supported by a U.S.-led- U.N. coalition. China lost an estimated 500,000 soldiers fighting after rushing to aid North Korea in 1950, during the war.

During the Vietnam War in the late-1960s and early 1970s, Chinese aid and military advisors supported North Vietnam in its war against the United States. The United States failed to save its ally, South Vietnam, from a communist takeover by North Vietnam in 1975.

In 1972, President Richard Nixon made a dramatic step in normalizing relations with China. It was the first step in a slow process of re-establishing diplomatic relations between the United States and communist China in almost thirty years.  Over the next forty years, that relationship would ebb and flow but the two countries would remain reluctant allies.

Trump’s trip to China, was a brilliant move to drive a wedge between the world’s two last remaining communist powers. Closer diplomatic relations with China can be used as leverage by the U.S. in dealing with North Korea, particularly on the issue of nuclear weapons.

Also, a massive U.S. military buildup in the region allows the United States to make use of the Chinese as a counterweight to North Korea. Despite claims of communist solidarity, China and North Korea are, at best, strongly distrustful allies.

North Korea

President Trump’s plan was to use China to contain North Korea nuclear aggression. China desires another ally in the world with an increasingly tense relationship between the U.S. and North Korea. The U.S. welcomed the possibility of making North Korea more malleable to U.S. policy requests (such as North Korea signing a peace treaty to disarm its nuclear program in exchange for U.N. aid and food).

President Trump scheduled the travel to meet with the region’s leaders to reassure them and the world of the U.S. stance on a nuclear North Korea. The message of the trip was clear- Either they needed to do something to contain the threat of North Korea or the U.S. will.