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Rules Are Not Made For Clintons - Again

by John Jazwiec

No sooner than writing yesterday's blog on Hillary Clinton having more baggage than Jeb Bush; I get home late tonight and find out ... oops she did it again. 

The New York Times broke a story that HRC, didn't use a government email address while serving as the Secretary of State. Rather she used a personal email address. 

As I, you, and everyone could guess, Jeb Bush punched back

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Be it Whitewater, to Benghazi (not able to testify because of medical conditions) and now email-gate, rules are not made for the Clintons and Hillary. 

A few short takeaways before retiring to bed - 

1. We all have personal email accounts. And we use them for non-essential communication. Why? Because they are not safe. 

2. The only one who looks worse than HRC, is her ex-boss: President Obama. I don't expect him to know everything about what everyone is doing in the executive branch. Nor that he communicates to his Secretary of State through emails. But I do expect that someone must have told him she was doing so. If he knew it; why didn't it stop? Because he needed the Clintons to help him get reelected?

3. If HRC wiggles herself out of this latest dismissal of rules, it buttresses my argument that Bush beats Clinton.

4. But on the other hand - if this knocks her out of the race - it's not good for Jeb Bush. With HRC, it's a race of the most palatable dynastic candidate. Without HRC, Jeb's is saddled with being part of a dynasty, while all others are not. HRC was and is the secret safe passage for Bush. One that he must have figured into his calculus for running. And that might now be in question.


2016: Who Has More Baggage?

by John Jazwiec

History will someday write, that the presidential 2016 election, was determined by the absence of electable candidates on the bench and that money is all that mattered.

On one side. the GOP's likely nominee will be another Bush. He's not winning polls but is winning the fundraising race. He enters the GOP primaries with two main baggages. The first is a fractured party: a mix of non-nationally electable libertarians, guns-and-biblists, and the Tea Party vying against his road to the GOP moderate nomination, will be his first crucible. 

Then there is the matter of his brother. He will have to run against his brother; just as his brother ran against his father.

But a Hillary Clinton campaign - although she faces no such hurdles on her way to the nomination - has her own sets of baggage.

The first is the clearest. Although she enters the general election on the campaign shoulders of Obama (his structural campaign infrastructure) - without her herself being tied to him - her candidacy, ironically provides air-cover for Jeb Bush. It's not dynasty vs non-dynasty; it is one dynasty vs another dynasty. 

The second - which no money can erase - is all of her husbands questionable financial schemes. From the petty taking of goods from the White House after her husband Bill left office to the Clinton Foundation's questionable financial dealings; there is only one thing people hate more than rich people. And that is new-money, corruptly trying to attain it. 

The third, - I can't think or Google any failed nominee of a party's nomination, going on to be later elected as president. In 2008, Clinton lost the nomination to Obama. She lost on a "candidacy of inevitability" The very same thing - whether she likes it or not - is how the media views her McKinleyesque front porch campaign, up until this writing.

I think HRC has more baggage than Jeb Clinton. Jeb can say he is is own man. HRC? Short of deporting her husband, she can't distance herself well enough. 

Than there is the electoral college hurdle. Unlike Obama in 2008 and 2012, it hard to see the bellwether state of Florida becoming winnable for Clinton. Thats Jeb Bush country. Note the following early predictions -

 

It shows HRC with a narrow advantage without having to win Florida. But there are blue-states that may not break Hillary's way. Bush can win the swing state of Virginia. With Scott Walker proving he can carry Wisconsin - twice - as a member of the GOP - Wisconsin is winnable for Bush. Those two states will likely determine the next president. 

All of this looks like, when stepping backward, that HRC was and is not an Obama Lincoln-like game changing candidate, coming out of nowhere. He won due to a broad coalition of non-discrimination older white voters, Latinos, African-Americans and the young vote.

HRC doesn't get the female vote automatically. She just gets the traditional liberal vote. But she will get less African-Americans turning out. Latinos will turn to Bush due to his ability to speak Spanish and his Mexican-American wife. And the young vote? Obama was a relatable father-figure. Clinton and Bush? Non-relatable grandparent-figures. They will not be a factor.

What will look better when all is said and done on a 2016 November evening? HRC with Bill hovering? Or Bush and his wife? The race might be close. But this mental picture will matter at the margins. And it's within the margins that president's are elected. 


Stock Market And Inflation: 1970s In Reverse

by John Jazwiec

This week's news that, over the past 12 months, inflation has turned negative, left investors celebrating.

There are two reasons their celebration is wrong. The first is easy. 12 months of negative inflation is really called "deflation". 

The second reason is a little more complex. But it's lessons were borne out of the 1970's during hyper-inflation. Investors lowered their P-E (Price-To-Earnings) ratios. Instead they failed to recognize that stocks were an inflation-hedge. 

In other words, if consumables prices are rising, rising nominal corporate earnings should "hedge" or offset a lessening of buying power, with rising stock prices.

Don't just take my word for it. According to a classic 1979 study by finance professors Franco Modigliani and Richard Cohn - which I studied back in the day in economic classes, both of whom at the time were MIT professors, argued that investors were failing to appreciate that stocks really are a good inflation hedge.

The bull market of the 1980s vindicated their argument that stocks therefore were significantly undervalued. In 1985, Modigliani won the Nobel Prize in economics.

So how does this apply to today?

If high inflation should have meant rising stock prices in the 1970s, then zero to negative inflation should lead to lower stock prices today. 

Why? Because lower nominal corporate earnings - which I recently posted is happening as we speak - means short-selling stocks today is a hedge against the value of money deposits with negative (deflation-adjusted) returns. 

Stock investors see low to negative interest rates as a hedge against keeping money in the bank. They have that part right. What they have wrong, is instead of short-selling, they are instead buying stocks and pushing their values up. 

But if nominal corporate earnings are falling - and they are, likely due to deflationary forces - how can nominal stock prices be rising?

They can't. So why are stock prices rising? Because it is a fallacy that the stock market is an efficient market that takes into consideration all known variables. The "efficient market" theory is number-scientific. But the stock market isn't number-scientific; rather it is behavioral-science based. 

The vast majority of investors go with the crowd. If the market was truly efficient, 2008 would never have happened. It's one thing to not know of an obscure 1979 research paper; but it's another thing to miss skyrocketing home prices and lax home-lending practices.

So if the stock market gets surprised by large "known knowns"; why should it be shocking that it gets surprised with smaller "known knowns"?


Religion And Greece

by John Jazwiec

For most of human history, government tends to be friendly to organized religion. Religion - with its do's and dont's - is the perfect social stability tool.

The Soviet Union failed to understand that. But Putin does. In restoring a new Russian empire, he is in lock step, with the Eastern Orthodox church. 

And that has side benefits outside his borders. In southeastern Europe and Greece, the Eastern Orthodox church dominates Christians. Roman Catholicism and Protestants? Not so much. 

So with Greece now economically at war with Europe and it's people belonging to the same faith as Russia; it shouldn't surprise anyone that 61% of Greeks have a favorable view of Moscow. 

During the cold war, Greece was constantly moving back and forth, between being socialistic/communistic and pro-Western. Most of the time, what won out was economic and military bribes from the West.

So when the Euro was established, Greece naturally jumped again into bed with the West. Fine when times were good. But when times are not good - like today - not anywhere near fine.

Because of the Eurozone crisis in Greece and the pains of prolonged austerity imposed at the urging of Berlin, “saying ‘Germany’ or ‘Merkel’ is like a curse, so if Merkel is condemning Russia or being pro-Ukrainian this must be a bad thing. 

Again, as I have written about continually, Europe's continued national balkanization with a single currency dependent on Germany, is unsustainable. While clearly Russia sees their interests in neighboring Ukraine and supports the Russian speaking regions gaining autonomy; no such force is required to turn Greece away from the West to Moscow. 

Europe. Wake up. Status quo isn't going to work. Certainly not in Greece. 

As Abraham Lincoln said 150 years ago, "if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher". 


Netanyahu: I Support You, But Your Denmark Comments? II

by John Jazwiec
 

First of all, spare me all the negative talk from the Obama administration towards Congress allowing Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress. It's wrong for two reasons: all international leaders should have the ability to address Congress because the US stands for freedom of speech and the GOP won the right to control Congress in the last election. Period.

I think it is important, as I always note, to understand why international leaders say what they do. In the case of Netanyahu, from his Iranian position, to his remarks on Denmark, he is playing to his own internal politics.

How many readers know that Israel is holding national elections in March? How many readers know what percent of Americans know this?

The politics of Israel are fractured in such as way that the US seems relatively tame. But like US national elections, the best way to win, is Occam's Razor. Cutting through complicated issues and addressing what every nation universally fears: its security.

When Netanyahu, addressed the UN in 2012, he famously drew Iran as a ticking time bomb. It might have seemed comical to an American. But it wasn't to a people, who's entire existence, is based on the security of tiny zionist land strip surrounded by antisemitism.

Then there was Denmark. Netanyahu after the terrorist attacks, encouraged the "mass immigration" of Jews from Europe. I thought it was "needlessly explicit and tone-deaf to European diaspora Jews". Other European diaspora Jewish leaders agreed.

But her again, what Netanyahu says, is more for internal politics. Europe is either tacitly recognizing a Palestinian state or is preparing to do so. I am not going to go into the complexity of the state of the Israel/Palestinian conflict. But suffice to say, that there is a large amount of Israel voters who see European Palestinian recognition as threat. 

Including within the link above, is another post of mine called, "Why I Wouldn't Want To Be Netanyahu". Namely, that I admire Netanyahu and he is a politician with zero good options. 

But the key is Netanyahu is still a politician. A brave one; but still a politician.

And what he says, at the end of the day, is all about winning an election. No different than any American politician. Except for one thing: the cost of him being elected is a return to zero good options within a neighborhood chaos that no American politician can imagine.


Kurdistan: Separating The "Good Guys"

by John Jazwiec

I love my country. But not because I see it as perfect. Not because I see it as some holy land. I love my country because it evolves. Not linear. But it evolves in fits and starts. 

And at its heart, this country has a free press, and ever citizen - who wants to see it become more perfect - is free to write about it - and hope to contribute in some small way toward the evolution of a more perfect union.

For me, hypocrisy is the greatest sin. I believe Abraham Lincoln when he said "When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy".

It is within that context, and having world-wide readership, that I write about the country. I don't trust Putin. But that doesn't mean I can't tease out his intentions without at least having empathy with his parochial goals. Or what his people - lovely people - feel is right or wrong.

I yesterday compared "New Russia" with the Kurds in Iraq. Both were given some autonomy by greater powers. But both are subjugated to remain within federations, due to larger geo-political goals. 

It is time that the Iraqi Kurds are given their freedom to become a sovereign nation. Why?

It is clear to me that Kurdish sovereignty would be of benefit to the Kurds, the region as a whole, and Western interests in the Middle East. 

The Kurds number around 30 million, and are generally considered to be the world’s largest stateless nation. When the Western powers carved up the remains of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, they promised the Kurds autonomy in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres.

In 1983, the Iraqi Kurds rose up against Iraq, led by Massoud Barzani and his Kurdish Democratic Party, in alliance with the younger Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, led by Jalal Talabani. This uprising was brutally crushed by Saddam Hussein in the infamous “Anfal” campaign, during which Hussein used poison gas against the civilians of the village Halabja in 1988, killing 3-5,000 people.

After the First Gulf War in 1991, a Kurdish autonomous zone was created in northern Iraq. Since the 2003 US invasion, this zone has emerged as a quasi-sovereign entity, with its own armed forces, political system, and economic interests. Taking a snapshot of the Kurdish region today is to witness a little-known Mideast success story in the midst of regional chaos and meltdown. The autonomous zone is the most peaceful part of Iraq, and the absence of political violence is encouraging investment. Erbil, the capital city, feels like a boom town. There are construction cranes everywhere and brand new SUVs on the streets. Exxon Mobil has signed an agreement with the KRG to search for oil and develop an energy industry in the zone. The US, France, and a number of other countries now have consulates in the capital.

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What place is that you say? You are looking at Kurdistan. This is not a side of Iraq, you think about, when picturing Iraq. 

The Kurds are also the ones spilling their blood by taking the fight to ISIS. The Iraqi military? The combination of their corruption and weakness can't be counted on. 

In all of the Middle East horror, somehow Kurdistan, while fighting against ISIS and other forces, is a peaceful oasis. 

 

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Does this look like some crazy Islamic Middle East to you?

Iraq and Turkey don't want Kurdish statehood. The oil rich autonomous Kurdish land still has to pay taxes to Iraq. While Turkey, with its own Kurdish minority, is afraid of maintaining their own current structure.

But we don't get anything out of Iraq. And Turkey - despite rhetoric to the contrary - is an open spigot for Europeans to immigrate to ISIS. You would think we would get more out of them because they are protected as a member of Nato. But they want their cake and to eat it to. 

It is the right thing to do, for the US, to reward the Iraqi Kurds with their own statehood. It's also in the West's strategic and business interests to do so.

As to "New Russia". If this is what you are fighting for and willing to do, than I say you should be rewarded over time after the fighting is done and you accomplish what Kurdistan has done. If not, if you are simply fighting some proxy war - which is not your stated goal - than I can't share anymore encouraging words. 

But you should be given the autonomy to prove yourselves. And if it is the right thing to have given the Iraqi Kurds a chance, the US should also not stand in your way of proving yourselves. 


Ukraine: Separating The "Good Guys"

by John Jazwiec

First a little background. 

Novorossiya or New Russia is an historical term of the Russian Empire from 1764–1873 denoting a region north of the Black Sea (presently part of Ukraine), which Russia annexed from the Ottoman Empire as a result of the Russo-Turkish wars.

The region was part of the Russian Empire until its collapse following the Revolution of 1917. Following the Soviet Union collapse in 1991 and the subsequent declaration of Ukrainian independence, a nascent movement began for the restoration of Novorossiya in 1992.

The people of Vladimir Putin speak Russian. And Vladimir Putin - is less concerned with restoring the Soviet Union - than he is in restoring the Russian empire. 

The Minsk agreement has a number of tenants; but the largest is that Novorossiya is allowed to vote for its own leaders and remain within Ukraine with a new constitution of a loose federation of states within Ukraine. 

The cease fire called for by the Minsk agreement has not held. But that isn't likely to derail it. On one hand, Novorossiya naturally wants to maximize its borders. On the other hand, the Ukrainian president, led by thugs within his own government, purposely didn't retreat its forces when the opening was there. It's was nothing more than a political stunt. Ukraine is playing up that its troops are helpless and surrounded. That is for Western sympathy; putting human lives at stake for winning political points.

So who really are the "good guys"? The Ukraine government - who agreed to the Minsk agreement - and are now trying to maximize its own power against the will of its Russian speaking citizens before changing their constitution?

Or Putin, who has repeatedly denied any desire for a war - he can't afford it - and has agreed to a middle position where Novorossiya gains a degree of autonomy but within a Ukrainian state?

There is no such thing as "good guys" and "bad guys" within the Ukrainian conflict. On one side you still have a Ukrainian government that is still corrupt. And then you have Putin who is using his power to come to the plight of Russian speaking people. 

It's akin to saying that the US is "bad" because it militarily provided the Kurds in Iraq - as corrupt as Ukraine - with autonomy. 

The US judging Russian moves as "bad" is hypocritical. And economic sanctions? Again hypocritical.

But worse it's a gross mismanagement of US foreign policy. Russia and the US have bigger things in common. Both countries worst enemy is Islamic terrorism. The US has been affected by Islamic terrorism - starting on 9/11 - with sporadic events. While Russia is affected by Islamic terrorism every day.  

We also need Russia to be an ally in dealing with Syria and Iran. 

In the big picture, the events in Ukraine, are simply similar moves that the US has employed before. But instead of recognizing them as such, it punishes Russia, and eliminates the US and Russia working together on more important imminent threats. 

 


Janet Yellen: Don't Do It

by John Jazwiec

Janet Yellen is the Fed Chairwoman. 

The US Fed, unlike other central banks, has two mandates: managing inflation and economic growth. 

Interest rates have been near zero for a long time. It's only natural to question when the Fed will raise rates. An argument for raising rates might be that zero interest rates lead to "asset bubbles".

But the bigger problem right now - also considering there is little to no inflationary forces in the economy - is the strength of the dollar. The dollar against other currencies is extraordinary high right now.

Any American company that relies on exports, is at risk, due to its goods being too expensive. And when you add up that risk, you have a downward force on the entire US economy.

If Yellen signals raising interest rates today - higher interest rates strengthens the value of currencies - US economic growth will be, in more jeopardy, than at the time of this writing.

Ms. Yellen. Don't do it.


Patriotism?

by John Jazwiec

I have always been a fan of Rudy Giuliani. I had an hour breakfast with him while he was considering whether to run for president in 2008. He asked my opinion. I said "Mr. Mayor you are too transparent to be elected president". 

Giuliani's latest remarks on Obama's love of country are hardly unique. I hear them everywhere. He just has to guts to say what many white Americans are thinking. 

But this recent Obama-bashing has been going on for a long time. And Giuliani is hardly alone in his thoughts. 

The day after Obama was elected, Rush Limbaugh told Shawn Hannity, he wanted Obama to fail. Was that patriotic?

Donald Trump called Obama a racist, with a hatred of white people? Well, Obama is sure disguising it well, with almost all of his cabinet and advisors being white.

Just before Hurricane Sandy, Ann Coulter called the sitting president a retard. Really? Someone who graduates from Harvard with the distinction of being part of the prestigious Harvard Law Review and being elected president of this long institution? I wouldn't call Coulter a retard. But her calling a sitting president a retard? That was patriotic?

Later Sarah Palin, called his tactics "shock and jive". That's patriotic? That's not being a racist?

John Sununu beseeched Colin Powell, as endorsing Obama because of racism. Attacking one of this county's best military generals? Was that patriotic?

One general method of attack on Obama is apocalyptical. Like he is some kind of pre-programmed animal that is going to take away the rights of citizens by the federal government including their privacy and guns. The Patriot Act was considered patriotic under Bush 43. But now under Obama it is apocalyptical and unpatriotic?

I hear white people deride Obama all the time. Their best evidence of an abuse of federal control is ObamaCare. But like RomneyCare it shifts the burden of health care to personal responsibility. And its origins were in a right-wing think tank. So copying right-wing think tank ideas is now unpatriotic?

I hear white people deride Obama for being a socialist. Exhibit A is the 2009 stimulus package. But I never heard people calling Bush 43 a socialist when he enacted TARP or enhanced Medicare benefits in 2003; which produced the largest overhaul of Medicare in the public health program's 38-year history. Was Bush being a socialist and being unpatriotic? 

During the 2008 campaign, Obama said he wouldn't hesitate to take out Bin Laden if he was found to be hiding in Pakistan, while others including Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden called him naive as to US-Pakistani diplomacy. I didn't see anyone calling Obama unpatriotic with that wave of flag waving after taking Bin Laden out.

Teddy Roosevelt was a patriot for talking softly and carrying a big stick. But Obama failing to call ISIS an Islamic terrorist threat - because he is smart enough to know that just inflames the rest of the Muslim world - doesn't stop him killing their leaders and having to live with innocent collateral damage on his mind every day. So TR was patriotic and Obama isn't?

I have not hesitated to write on this blog when I disagree with Obama. And I am a card-carrying member of the GOP and bestow it with rather large donations. 

But I concede that I am talking about an intellectual heavyweight, who's personal ethics have been beyond reproach. And this first family has not brought disrepute to the White House. 

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Real patriots argue on the basis of substance. Obama has plenty of faults of substance to argue about. But smearing him - instead of saying "only in America could someone like him be president" - is not only unpatriotic, but it goes against our nation's better angels. 


ISIS And Religious Eschatology

by John Jazwiec

Eschatology is a part of theology concerned with the "end times".

Judaism, Christianity and Islam - the three religions that believe in one god - each have codified "end times" within their holy texts.

Judaism's eschatology is contained within the Book of David and in the Talmud. Christianity's eschatology is contained in the Book of Revelations. Islam's eschatology is contained with the sayings of the Prophet Muhammed in the Koran. 

It is impossible to understand the rise of ISIS without religious context. 

Without getting into the differences of the two Islamic sects - that would take a longer post - a caliphate is a very powerful term. 

Last July, ISIS's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi since 2010, stepped up to a podium at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul and announced he was the next caliphate. The last great caliphate was in the 16th century Ottoman Empire. And the last caliphate was eradicated under modern Turkey in the early 20th century.

In order to be a caliphate, within Islamic interpretation, someone must rule a piece of land. Hence ISIS's land grab of parts of Syria and Iraq. Which are roughly the size of the United Kingdom. 

The appeal of Muslim ISIS immigration is based on there now being a caliphate-led holy region. It is also based on Islamic eschatology. 

Just for context, al Qaeda, was based on a return of a caliphate - not within their life times - and being rooted in modern times, within desperate geography and little regard to Islamic eschatology. 9/11 operative Mohammad Atta spent his last full day of life, shopping at Walmart and eating dinner at Pizza Hut.

While ISIS is now based on a caliphate that is real, "owns land" and is rooted in ancient times and Islamic eschatology. ISIS is not some crazy modern jihadists as they are depicted in the West. Rather they are a carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the world to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it.  

ISIS closest theologic branch is within the jihadist wing of a branch of Sunnism called Salafism, after the Arabic al salaf al salih, the “pious forefathers.” These forefathers are the Prophet himself and his earliest adherents, whom Salafis honor and emulate as the models for all behavior, including warfare, culture, family life, even medicine.

Denying the holiness of the Koran or the prophecies of Muhammad is straightforward apostasy. Being a Shiite, as most Iraqi Arabs are, meets the standard as well, because the Islamic State regards Shiism as innovation, and to innovate on the Koran is to deny its initial perfection.

That means roughly 200 million Shia are marked for death. So too are the heads of state of every Muslim country, who have elevated man-made law above Sharia by running for office or enforcing laws not made by God.

Following takfiri doctrine, the Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people.

Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel - the leading expert on the group’s theology - says - 

“Embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion” that neglects “what their religion has historically and legally required.” Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature, he said, are rooted in an “interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition".

All Muslims acknowledge that Muhammad’s earliest conquests were not tidy affairs, and that the laws of war passed down in the Koran and in the narrations of the Prophet’s rule were calibrated to fit a turbulent and violent time. In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day.”

ISIS has continued to embrace slavery and crucifixion without apology. “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women,” Adnani, the group's spokesman, promised in one of his periodic announcement to the West. “If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.”

The recent executions can now be viewed within this lens. A Jordanian pilot was an infidel and burned like early Christians. While a group of Egyptian Christian Cops were executed to send a signal to all of Christianity. Pope Francis defended all Christians. Why? Because he knows "Rome" doesn't just mean Roman Catholics. It means all of Christianity. 

Even the fate of Iraq's Yazidi - lapsed Muslim women and children - was debated. Were they pagans marked for death? Ultimately they were enslaved instead. 

Which brings us back to Islamic eschatology. During the last years of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the Islamic State’s immediate founding fathers, saw signs of the end times everywhere. Just as Christians have often done long ago and most recently under David Koresh and Jim Jones. 

The Islamic State has attached great importance to the Syrian city of Dabiq, near Aleppo. It named its propaganda magazine after the town, and celebrated madly when (at great cost) it conquered Dabiq’s strategically unimportant plains. It is here, the Prophet said, that the armies of Rome will set up their camp. The armies of Islam will meet them, and Dabiq will be Rome’s Waterloo or its Antietam.

Now that it has taken Dabiq, the Islamic State awaits the arrival of an enemy army there, whose defeat will initiate the countdown to the apocalypse.

Even mass killings, when viewed from ISIS's apocalyptical theology, are seen by its followers as mercy killings. 

So what does all this mean? First, in order to defeat ISIS, or any enemy, you have to understand the enemy. Second, at heart of its appeal, is the caliphate and Islamic eschatology. Where's the weak link? You can't have a caliphate without having land to own and administer. 

That means that every nation in the Middle East, perhaps with US arial support, must eradicate ISIS on the ground. Because ISIS is a threat from Saudi Arabia to Iran, all Gulf nations, which ISIS has marked for death, must put their whole lot in. 

Perhaps someday ISIS maybe a imminent threat to the West; but it is a imminent threat to every Middle East country. Now. For two reasons. The first of course is their power and people are threatened. And secondly, an ISIS-controlled Middle East, will almost certainly be met with non-7th century modern bombing from the West and Israel.

An apocalypse for sure. Just not the one pictured by ISIS today. 


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From athletic scholar and satirist to computer programmer to CEO success, John Jazwiec brings a unique and often eccentric perspective to business and supply chain challenges. Exploring how they can be solved through the leadership and communication insights found in untraditional sources. This CEO blog demonstrates how business insights from books on history to the music of Linkin Park can help challenge and redefine “successful leadership.” Read Jazwiec’s Profile >>

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