Friday, October 17, 2014

Stephen Flurry Condemns Obama Administration's Foreign Policy—Is He Right?

In the October 2014 issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet Stephen Flurry released an article entitled 'Everything Is Awesome' saying that President Obama and his Administration have a woefully rosy view of world affairs today. Is Stephen Flurry right? Let's take a look.

First Stephen Flurry cites some statements by President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Press Secretary Josh Earnest to say the Obama Administration are woefully optimistic about current affairs.

Stephen Flurry responds:
That is an extraordinary assessment of America’s foreign policy. Actually, when you really do look at the facts— both of the disorder enveloping several hot spots around the world, and of how much America is contributing to these problems—then the fact that the secretary of state would view the situation with pride is downright scary.
Ok, Stephen Flurry. What is really going on that the Obama Administration cannot see for themselves?
Six years ago the United States had large armies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its national debt was $9.5 trillion. Egypt, Libya and Syria were comparatively stable. America’s traditional allies in Europe, Asia and even the Middle East still looked to the United States for leadership and assistance in time of need.
How pleasant. Actually the US still has a large army in Afghanistan, by the way. Did you and your fellow writers at The Philadelphia Trumpet note how comparatively pleasant things were at the time?

Stephen Flurry continues immediately afterwards:
That’s not to say that everything was awesome. In fact, if you were reading the Trumpet at the time, you know that the United States was in bad shape. It’s just that it is much worse today than it was then.
It's "much worse" now? Is there another Global Financial Crisis happening now?
Look at the facts. Since 2008, we have seen a new administration brush off its traditional allies, embark on an “apology tour,” draw down its forces and encourage its most dangerous enemies to rise in power.
President Obama did not go on an apology tour. That is what the opposition against him said. But this accusation is not true. Somehow Stephen Flurry did not notice this.
We have seen its Arab outreach fall flat. Its “pivot to Asia” never materialized. We have seen a U.S. ambassador murdered for the first time in 30 years.
In fact there were numerous attacks on U.S. Embassies all over the world during the previous Bush Administration. Take a look at what happened while President Bush was in charge.
June 14, 2002, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Suicide bomber kills 12 and injures 51.
February 20, 2003, international diplomatic compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Truck bomb kills 17.
February 28, 2003, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Gunmen on motorcycles killed two consulate guards.
July 30, 2004, U.S. embassy in Taskkent [sic], Uzbekistan
Suicide bomber kills two.
December 6, 2004, U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Militants stormed and occupied perimeter wall. Five killed, 10 wounded.
March 2, 2006, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Suicide car bomber killed four, including a U.S. diplomate [sic] directly targeted by the assailants.
September 12, 2006, U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria
Gunmen attacked embassy with grenades, automatic weapons, and a car bomb (though second truck bomb failed to detonate). One killed and 13 wounded.

January 12, 2007, U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece
A rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the embassy building. No one was injured.
July 9, 2008, U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey
Armed men attacked consulate with pistols and shotguns. Three policemen killed.
March 18, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana'a, Yemen
Mortar attack misses embassy, hits nearby girls' school instead.
September 17, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana'a, Yemen
Militants dressed as policemen attacked the embassy with RPGs, rifles, grenades and car bombs. Six Yemeni soldiers and seven civilians were killed. Sixteen more were injured. (Daily Kos.)
Note that one of these murderous attacks occurred in Syria, back when Syria was "comparatively stable" according to Stephen Flurry, when things were supposedly going fairly well for America. This wave of violence simply is not happening under President Obama as the Daily Kos post continued to note.
As for Obama, the attacks in Cairo and Benghazi are the first two attacks on a U.S. diplomatic mission in an ostensibly peaceful country during his entire presidency—and they were sparked by that idiot wingnut Islamophobe Terri Jones. [Note: That may not be true because this was written immediately after the attack but that does not change the fact that attacks on US embassies has actually greatly decreased under President Obama. -Redfox712.] The embassy in Afghanistan was targeted by the Taliban last Sept. 13, but that's a country at war.
It is also worth mentioning that under President Reagan about 94 people were killed in attacks on US embassies.
April 18 1983 Beirut Islamic Jihad car bomb destroys Embassy  63 killed
December 12 1983 Kuwait City al-Dawa truck bomb outside embassy 6 killed.
September 20 1984 Beirut Hezbollah truck bomb outside embassy  24 killed
November 1984 Bogotá Car bomb outside Embassy planted by drug cartel  1 killed
February 1986 Lisbon Popular Forces of 25 April car bomb outside Embassy
May 14 1986 Jakarta Japanese Red Army mortar barrage none
June 9 1987 Rome Japanese Red Army mortar barrage
That's 94 dead. (Source.)
Considering these painful facts can we really say that America is falling apart and is ready to be conquered by Germans any minute now? Is it really proper to cite the murderous attack at Benghazi as a sign that America is about to be destroyed?

Then Stephen Flurry starts to talk about the situation with Russia.
We have seen this administration allow Russia to take over handling the civil war in Syria, not to mention Russia literally taking over Crimea and destabilizing Ukraine.
Actually Syria has long been aligned with Russia. Didn't Stephen Flurry know that? Syria and the US had long had bad relations. Numerous sanctions were in force upon Syria long before 2011. The Assad dictatorship made it a point of pride of not being aligned with the US. (Although there were exceptions to this rule.) When the Syrian people launched their courageous revolution against the Assad dictatorship in 2011 Russia would always have an important say in what happened there. Syria had long ago allied itself with Russia. It is in Russia's sphere of influence so to speak.

Personally I wish the Obama Administration intervened more on behalf of the Syrian peoples' revolution but Russia was always going to be closely involved in what happened in Syria. It is not the US's fault that this is the case. Russia choosing to act in what they perceive to be their own interests in Syria is not a sign that the US is about to be conquered by Germany.

Then Stephen Flurry talks about Iraq and Iran.
We have seen this administration soften its sanctions against Iran and abandon U.S. allies in Iraq.
"We have seen this administration ... abandon U.S. allies in Iraq." I take great exception to this statement. The US tried very hard to maintain the national unity of Iraq at great cost in lives lost. Through many trials and tribulations the Sunni Iraqi Arabs were brought into the fold of the Baghdad government and allied with the Coalition during the surge. But in order to maintain this peace between Sunni and Shiite it was vitally necessary for the Shiite dominated government to persuade the Sunnis that they were safe under the Baghdad government.

Alas the Baghdad government failed to persuade the Sunnis that this was the case. Soon after US troops left Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki tried to arrest a Sunni Vice-President who fled the country. Even if they were right to do so this incident had the disastrous effect of convincing the Sunnis that there was no future living under the rule of Baghdad. Consequently the so-called "Islamic State" (formerly known as al Qaeda in Iraq) led by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi seemed more alluring to the Sunnis. The Abu Bakr al Baghdadi insurgents ruthlessly took advantage of this situation to re-entrench themselves within Iraq to the misfortune of many. 

How can Stephen Flurry accuse the Obama Administration of abandoning them? I find it sad that Stephen Flurry should speak of fighting in Iraq as though it was an easy to do. But Stephen Flurry helps to lead a group in which the members do not enlist in the military and because it is registered as a church it does not have to pay taxes hence PCG does not even pay for the running of the US military.

Stephen Flurry continues:
Radical Islam is not “on the run,” as President Obama proclaimed on the campaign trail in 2012—it’s on the rise. Right now, Islamic death squads are gang-raping and mass-murdering their way across Iraq. Syria’s ongoing civil war has claimed at least 170,000 lives—with no end in sight. Libya’s civil war forced America to shut down its embassy in Tripoli. Russia is breathing down Eastern Europe’s neck. Jews are fleeing persecution in Europe.
There is a lot to discuss here. Let's take this one at a time.

"Islamic death squads are gang-raping and mass-murdering their way across Iraq." Is Stephen Flurry insinuating that the Abu Bakr al Baghdadi led insurgents are true Muslims? That is what those insurgents want. We should not play into their hands, not even by speaking of them as though they were true Muslims.

"Syria’s ongoing civil war has claimed at least 170,000 lives—with no end in sight." Russia regards Syria as an ally and they were always going to do what they wanted to do in Syria. Personally I wish the Obama Administration had been more proactive about the situation. Ultimately the murderous Assad regime is the cause of this tragic civil war. The war in Syria is many things but it is not a sign that America is about to be conquered by Germans.

"Libya’s civil war forced America to shut down its embassy in Tripoli." What does Stephen Flurry want the State Department to do? Leave the embassy in operation despite great risk? Great idea, Stephen Flurry. Do not evacuate the embassy no matter what.

"Russia is breathing down Eastern Europe’s neck." Russia is next door to Eastern Europe. Always has been. Always will be.

"Jews are fleeing persecution in Europe." The Nazis are not coming, no matter how many times Stephen Flurry says this. 2014 is not like the 1930s. This statement is madness.

Stephen Flurry now talks about the situation with Russia.
Clinton, you may remember, was the architect of the infamous “reset” strategy, which basically gave Russia a pass for its invasion of Georgia and then resulted in the removal of America’s missile defense systems from Eastern Europe and its abandonment of Ukraine. This essentially cleared the way for Vladimir Putin to devour Crimea and trigger a civil war in Ukraine.
This is nonsense. What on Earth is Stephen Flurry reading that would suggest to him that these terrible events are somehow Hilary Clinton's fault? I find this assertion very strange.

How did the US abandon Ukraine? In 2005 Ukraine went through the Orange Revolution and thus adopted a more pro-Western policy. Later the pro-Russians regained power in elections and took Ukraine down a more Russian oriented policy which was enforced until the Ukrainian people rose up in February against them. How did the US abandon Ukraine? What does Stephen Flurry want? The US to "help" Ukraine against the wishes of its own government. That is a sure recipe for disaster.

Now Stephen Flurry talks about Libya.
When President Obama unilaterally invaded Libya in 2011, he said he had to act when he did because the city of Benghazi was only a day away from being slaughtered by Muammar Qadhafi’s forces. And so, the United States smashed Qadhafi’s army and handed the nation over to Libya’s rebel forces. They eventually captured the colonel, sexually assaulted him and then televised his public execution. At the time, the United States government laughed off the barbaric lynching and told us this: Everything in Libya would turn out awesome.
I find it strange and discouraging to see Stephen Flurry seeming to think letting Qadhafi reimpose his rule upon a people that no longer wanted to live under his rule was a good idea. Does Stephen Flurry think we should just look away as Qadhafi sent his troops to murder and shoot at protesters and just let him do this? I for one am glad the international community did not choose to let Qadhafi butcher his own people but instead aided the Libyan people to free themselves.

As for what happened to Qadhafi when he was captured that was wrong. Completely totally utterly wrong. Never should have happened. Just goes to show how even six months of war can warp peoples' minds so badly. But I find it strange how Stephen Flurry chooses to paint Qadhafi as a victim while so many other Libyans suffered so terribly during those days because Qadhafi decided to kill his own people just to maintain his power. I find it strange how Stephen Flurry seems to ignore how Qadhafi caused his own destruction.
Since making that statement, the reality on the ground has become frighteningly dangerous. First there was the murder of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans on September 11, 2012—by the very terrorist militias America joined forces with the year before, by the way.
Left unacknowledged here is the fact that many Libyans were highly upset and disgusted at those foul murders and rallied to show their disgust. But Stephen Flurry does not seem to care about these facts.He certainly did not mention it here.

Just a few days later the Libyan people rose up and cast out a militia there widely suspected of involvement in this act. Some of those brave Libyans died in that heroic endeavor. But sad to say Stephen Flurry does not seem to care about those brave and noble people. He certainly did not mention it here.
And then this past summer, due to the ongoing civil war, the United States of America was forced to shut down its embassy in Tripoli.
Does Stephen Flurry want the US to maintain the embassy even if people could be in great danger? That seems a silly way to manage affairs of this nature. One would think Stephen Flurry should praise the State Department for taking this measure to protect peoples' lives. Can one imagine how different things would be if this was done in Tehran in 1979 before the hostages were seized? But Stephen Flurry does not seem to care.
Incredibly, just two weeks after the State Department told Americans to get out of Libya immediately, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lifted a 30-year ban on Libyan nationals attending flight schools and nuclear science training facilities in the United States. The ban was put in place during the Reagan era, following a wave of Libyan terrorist attacks. Today, however, DHS says the ban is obsolete because the United States and Libya have—and I’m not making this up— “normalized their relationship,” as the DHS directive states. According to DHS spokesman S.Y. Lee, the Obama administration is reviewing and revising its policies on Libya “to better align with U.S. interests in light of its revolution.”
Should innocent people suffer because of decisions made in the time of Reagan? Should Libyans, many of whom sacrificed so much to liberate their beloved homeland from the Qadhafi dictatorship, still be banned from "attending flight schools and nuclear science training facilities in the United States" because of sanctions passed because of Qadhafi in the 1980s? They should not. I find it very disturbing that Stephen Flurry seems unconcerned that innocent people may needlessly suffer because of such rules.

Stephen Flurry then talks about a speech President Obama gave.
Mr. Obama actually did return to Washington for a brief stint beginning on August 17. Before that, he broke away from vacationing to give a speech at a fundraising event in Tisbury, Massachusetts, on August 11. During that speech, he talked again about how awesome everything has been the past few years.
 What did President Obama say that has so incensed Stephen Flurry?
America today, he said, is stronger “in all sorts of ways,” compared to when he first came into office. America has added jobs. Unemployment is down. Deficit spending has been slashed. The stock market has rebounded. Corporate profits are booming. The housing market has recovered.
President Obama is right. Stephen Flurry, didn't you notice that? No one seems worried that toxic mortgages might lead to financial catastrophe. That nearly happened in 2008. And if something like that was actually going to happen Stephen Flurry would have said so in this article, and he does not. 
America’s leaders can fiddle away and pretend that the nation isn’t burning if they like. But facts, as former U.S. President John Adams once said, are stubborn things. By any objective indicator, the United States of America is far worse off than it was five or six years ago.
This is not true. Stephen Flurry is wrong.

Reading this article I doubt Stephen Flurry even properly understands what happened in the great financial crisis in 2008 and notice how things are different now.

Now why would he think things are worse today in the US then in 2008?
We’ve added $7 trillion to the national debt just under this administration. Americans are already overtaxed and the nation itself is bankrupt. No nation has ever been able to dig out of a financial pit this size.
Stephen Flurry is wrong: The US national debt was actually higher per capita during World War II and immediately afterwards. Did the US go bankrupt then? The picture below shows US federal debt compared with GDP from 1940 to 2014. (Click to enlarge.)

US federal debt compared with GDP 1940-2014

It may be seen that US federal debt was actually higher in the World War II era and immediately afterwards. However it is fairly easy to not notice this fact because of inflation. This fact is not often stated but it is true. So Stephen Flurry is wrong about the US national debt.

Stephen Flurry also makes the mistake of assuming the US national debt is like private debt. There is one huge difference between the US national debt and one's personal debt: the US government can make more money. Also a large part of that national debt is actually owed to itself.

Here is what one writer at Forbes, John T. Harvey, has to say about these things.
The overwhelming majority of people believe the national debt has never been as large as it is today. However, like so much popular information regarding the federal government’s budget, it simply isn’t true. It’s been much larger, and that period of history hardly saw the collapse of the US economy. Furthermore, many economies that we would consider sound and strong actually have more debt than we do. On top of all that, federal government debt is not analogous to that in the private-sector because it represents an injection of wealth, not a drag on growth.
The last point provides the framework within which the rest of the explanation must be placed. The key issue is the fact that, in a mature, capitalist economy, the private sector does not consistently generate sufficient demand to create jobs for all those willing to work. Hence, we can have periods such as we see today, where we have the capacity to produce output for those going without, but it is not profitable to do so because they lack the income to purchase it. And because profit is what drives the private sector, this means that we are stuck where we are. Our problem today is not that we have too many regulations or too high taxes on firms; they don’t have enough customers.
When such situations arise, only an entity capable of spending more than it earns without the prospect of bankruptcy is capable of breaking the stalemate. And that, of course, is the government, which can never be forced to default on debt denominated in its own currency (as ours is, incidentally–Greek is not). (John T. Harvey, Why Our Current National Debt is not the Largest in History, Frobes, February 26, 2012.)
If the US national debt was really going to cause the fall of America it would have happened in 2008. And it was not the US national debt that caused the great financial crisis of 2008. It was mortgages which could not be paid because they were foisted onto people who could not pay them off. It was predatory lenders who then sold these toxic mortgages to financial institutions which ended up getting so much of them that they nearly went bankrupt, which would have negatively affected many other people who had their money tied up with these financial institutions as well.  

So we see quite clearly that regarding the US national debt Stephen Flurry does not know what he is talking about. He does not even know that US federal debt was actually higher during the World War II era and immediately afterwards.

Stephen Flurry ends this article with these words.
Think about the gross ignorance and blindness of the average American who sincerely believes that everything, for the most part, is awesome.
That is what America’s leaders want him to believe. That’s why they say, “Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14).
If you have eyes to see and ears to hear, be forewarned. God says when the ambassadors of peace proclaim peace and safety—when they say everything is awesome— beware sudden destruction (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
But Stephen Flurry is wrong about many things in this article. And not only him but HWA was also wrong about many things and made numerous false prophesies thus proving that God was not with him. Stephen Flurry continues this shameful tradition. Nothing he says here indicate that America is on the verge of being conquered by Germans. There are many problems in the world. Many are misinformed about things for one reason or another, but Stephen Flurry's article is not going to help. (Except bring in more members into PCG who are required to pay three tithes and extra offerings.)


  1. Fear-mongering. It's all fear-mongering. How many times in human history has it seemed that the end of the world as we know it must be at hand? When the Roman Empire fell that must have seemed like the end of the world for many people in that day and age. It was indeed the end of a civilization, but not the end of the world. When the plague ravaged Europe in the 14th century that must have surely felt like the end of the world, but the pandemic eventually subsided. When the Civil War tore the United States apart that must have appeared to many to be the end of the world. It was indeed the end of the Old South but not the end of the world. And when World War II came along it seemed to many --- including Herbert Armstrong --- to signal the end of the world. In one sense a new world did arise after WWII, with new superpowers and new alliances and new boundaries, but it wasn't really the end of the world. All of these events led to great transitions in human history, so in one sense the world DID come to an end, but it was always a transition and not a total final catastrophe. And during each transition there have always been those who want to capitalize on such events to increase their ego or their power or their pocketbook. Could a final world-ending catastrophe happen? Sure it could, but it would take something on a far greater scale than humanity has seen up to this point. For now the end of the world comes to each of us individually when we die, which is why those who would preach to us do better to stick to spiritual issues.

  2. You know, it's funny that you should mention this. Analog this month (December 2014) has a guest editorial by Howard V. Hendrix:

    A Choice of Apocolypses.

    ACoGs have certainly become nostalgic for the "good old days" -- doomsdays that is.

    Since these pronouncements are from the mouths (and poisoned pens) of false prophets, you can be pretty sure (even though it's ad hominem -- which is highly appropriate in this case), nothing they say is true.

    It's automatic fail. And just because it's a watch that loses 12 seconds a day and might have the right time every few months, it doesn't mean you should trust it.