Tag Archive for: South Korea

Knock, knock? We’re on a path to extinction! Anyone interested?

South Korea just broke its own grim record, reporting the world’s lowest fertility rate at 0.78 children per woman. An unprecedented birth dearth.

South Korea is supposedly a “wealthy” country, but it will not be wealthy without children. The disappearance of East Asia and their ancient cultures proceeds apace. Japan and China are already shrinking with no end in sight. So many young people are not even interested in dating. What for? They have smartphones, video games and social media.

The same situation plagues the West. In what was once known as Christendom – Europe, Russia, the Anglosphere, Latin America – Christianity is being supplanted by thoroughly modern secularism. “Go forth and multiply” does not apply.

Fertility is falling everywhere. Why?

In prehistoric times, natural selection prevailed. Those best able to adapt survived and produced more offspring. Charles Darwin is credited with the discovery of this principle, though he simply rendered reality into writing. Natural selection became the basis for his theory of evolution.

For people at the mercy of the elements, death was a constant companion. The bearing of children just came naturally to perpetuate family and tribe. The survival instinct was strong. Five-star restaurants, two-car garages and family planning were unknown.

Then came civilization. Sustained commerce between small settlements and the rise of agriculture spawned economies and social stability. Between 4000 and 3000 BC full-fledged civilizations arose. Finding food, clothing and shelter was no longer a do-or-die proposition. Large-scale cooperation emerged. Natural selection gave way to social selection. Civilization presented diversions such as art, science, education, politics, wealth, leisure, and power.

Fast forward to the 19th century. In 1800 no transportation system rivaled the old Roman roads. Nor was there a postal service as proficient as Caesar’s. That changed with the Industrial Revolution. The Idea of Progress, the belief that history ineluctably proceeds towards material well-being and a better life, took hold and superseded religious faith. This belief emerged from Enlightenment empiricism. Mankind had come to believe in itself: Master of the Universe. Modernism was born.

Modernism was inextricably linked with progress. What great things humanity can do! How could anyone possibly argue with that? Modernism is defined by the Oxford dictionary:

A tendency in theology to accommodate traditional religious teaching to contemporary thought and especially to devalue supernatural elements.

According to Merriam-Webster it is:

a movement toward modifying traditional beliefs in accordance with modern ideas, especially in the Roman Catholic Church in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Note the words “accommodate” and “modifying.” It’s not rocket science – religious faith, traditional values and common sense were subordinated to “modern” notions of “liberty, equality and fraternity.” In the West that eventually morphed into “diversity, equity and inclusion” (DEI).

Where is the family in all this? Good question. Modernism continually moves the goal posts. In the West the very definitions of marriage, family and morality are up for debate. Moral relativism destroys social cohesion, a form of “social security” money can’t buy. That is gone in the West and fading fast in the East.

The West’s Industrial Revolution, along with the utopian Idea of Progress, eventually took hold worldwide. The prevailing wisdom was that humanity was improving. The New Soviet Man concept is just one example.

But humanity was not improving. It was the same old humanity thriving under improved conditions – e.g., rising living standards, a critical distinction. Are we really more intelligent or somehow cognitively superior to the ancient Greeks or Persians? Will we ever learn that all the DEI social engineering in the world does not change human nature?

Modernism’s materialism, consumerism and convenience are secular values. How can God, faith, or belief in the transcendent help me get ahead in this world? Well, there’s the Prosperity Gospel. But I digress.

With the advent of Modernism, civilization’s diversions – art, science, politics, wealth, leisure and power – became preoccupations, ends in themselves, at the expense of family. We slipped our spiritual moorings.

Modernism’s mammon mania means that nothing should impede the pursuit of prosperity. We have creature comforts and high-tech gadgets galore. The old “bread and circuses for the masses” has long been surpassed. Materially things are better. What could go wrong?

But are we homo sapiens getting ahead of ourselves?

Has the complexity of civilization exceeded the human capacity to maintain and manage it, akin to a structural overload in engineering? Gleaming civilization with all its baubles and accoutrements has blinded us to certain eternal truths. Losing faith means losing our moral compass and survival instinct. Christianity is wilting in the West. The fatalistic Oswald Spengler said that when the continuation of your kind on earth becomes a matter of debate, it’s over. (To give you a taste of Spengler, he’s the guy who said, “Optimism is cowardice”.)

Absent religious faith or a common Zeitgeist larger than ourselves, civilization can mutate from benefit to burden.

Burden? Progress is a double-edge sword. The environment is fouled for economic gain. Institutions master rather than serve humanity. Perpetual mortgage and credit card debt must be serviced. Unfettered by faith, moral constraints or a common ethos, misery abounds. Artificial intelligence is amazing, but it is also a dehumanizing job-killer.

Modernism prioritizes economic growth, imperialism, and affluence. Everything, including people, is valued solely for economic utility. Mammon mania undermines the family. People choose between family and career as if there is a moral equivalency. For humanity at large, that is choosing between life or death. The produce-and-consume treadmill holds us captive to the lust/need for lucre. No creature breeds well in captivity.

Governments are devising all manner of schemes to reverse falling fertility. Hungary and Scandinavia are leading the way with subsidized childcare, affordable housing and expanded parental leave. It is too early to assess the impact. China is crafting the world’s most comprehensive fertility initiative to date. This includes mapping data on unmarried youth.

Japan has initiated a government-sponsored dating service. The Japanese call it konkatsu, or “marriage hunting.

Russia propagandizes for larger families. President Vladimir Putin has revived Josef Stalin’s Mother Heroine award of US$16,000 for mothers who bear ten children or more.

ChinaRussiaHungary, and other countries are restricting abortion. With shrinking populations many are becoming aware of the critical necessity to choose life.

There is talk of taxing the childless. Renowned demographer Dr Paul Morland floated the idea in his Sunday Times op-ed “Should We Tax the Childless?” His reasoning: “We are approaching a population emergency, and if well-informed people cannot discuss these matters, the field is left to cranks and fanatics.” The idea was not well received; one magazine described it as a “rage-inducing viral masterclass”.

There is already overseas “bride-hunting” to compensate for gender deficits. The Faroe Islands is an example. There is even chatter about importing women from higher-fertility countries for breeding purposes, akin to livestock management.

Here’s an idea. Redefine prosperity in terms of intact families and children, rather than in fungible fiat currency per household.

Family life is being sacrificed on the altar of modernity. Shouldn’t government be doing some of the sacrificing? Multiple military bases, ginormous stadiums and over-the-top infrastructure projects are not as important as survival. Fund family-friendly initiatives instead.

How about meaningful tax relief for the middle class? In the US, real wages (those adjusted for inflation) have not risen since the 1970s. With everyone busy working, homes become dormitories. Living to work is unhealthy.

Reconfigure national economies and pay (bribe) people to have children. With our very survival at stake, just do it. But what does that say about our values?

As Henry David Thoreau observed, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” Tight money is merely a symptom contributing to the family’s decline. The root cause is spiritual.

The world is ageing because we are not replacing ourselves. Why? The family is no longer the center of life. Children are a bother. They’re too expensive. It doesn’t matter if we die out. The survival instinct is gone. Is a brave new dystopian world ahead?

The most advanced civilization can’t fool Mother Nature. Is this natural selection coming back?

Humans, those self-aware bipeds with prominent prefrontal cortexes, emerged about 300,000 years ago. Civilization has been around only 6,000 years. Is civilization an aberration? Are we regressing to barbarism?

Modernism has failed. We’re on the path to extinction. The world’s most productive populations are the fastest declining.

The future of the family depends on individual and societal priorities. Priorities reside in hearts and minds. Only spiritual rebirth can turn things around.

How can we help that happen?


Louis T. March

Louis T. March has a background in government, business and philanthropy. A former talk show host, author and public speaker, he is a dedicated student of history and genealogy. Louis lives with his family… More by Louis T. March.


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EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

South Korea to release $7 billion in frozen assets to Iran after consulting with Biden’s handlers

While Biden may well be looking for ways to save face in a standoff with Iran, he just gave the thumbs up for South Korea to release $7 billion in assets in Iran. Biden likely hopes this gesture will move Iran closer to negotiations with the U.S. If Biden is lucky, this money will lead Iran to soften its stance and return to the negotiating table, so as to restart the disastrous Iran nuclear deal that saw over $100 billion flow into the coffers of the Islamic Republic. That was a windfall that allowed the mullahs to continue their jihad in the region and globally; another such windfall is in the offing.

To facilitate the trade with Iran of humanitarian items, such as medicine and medical equipment, South Korea has been seeking to use a Swiss channel backed by the U.S., known as the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), to use the money through Swiss companies’ sales of goods to Iran.

But the trade of humanitarian items just frees up money for other activities. Who could forget Iran’s deceptions? These include its violation of the nuclear deal, and its own admission to having done so, as well as its boastful, repeated threats and provocations regarding its military capabilities. Yet far too many Western leaders have never recognized the implications of all this.

“Foreign ministry says Iran’s assets to be unlocked through consultations with US,”

Korea Times, February 23, 2021:

The Iranian assets locked in South Korea will be released after consultations with the United States, the foreign ministry said Tuesday, after Iran claimed it has reached a deal with Seoul on how to transfer and use the frozen money.

According to Iran’s government website, the agreement was reached Monday (Tehran time) during the meeting between Iran’s Central Bank Gov. Abdolnaser Hemmati and South Korean Ambassador to Iran Ryu Jeong-hyun.

It said that the two sides agreed on the destinations for the transfer and that the Iranian central bank informed Seoul of the amount of the money it wants to be transferred.

Tehran has been pressuring Seoul to unblock about US$7 billion of its assets frozen in two South Korean banks due to U.S. sanctions. Seoul has been in talks with Washington on ways to release the money without violating the sanctions, including expanding humanitarian trade with the Middle Eastern country.

“Our government has been in talks with Iran about ways to use the frozen assets, and the Iran side has expressed its consent to the proposals we have made,” the foreign ministry said without providing further details of the proposals.

“The actual unfreezing of the assets will be carried out through consultations with related countries, including the United States,” the ministry said.

Earlier this month, a foreign ministry official said Seoul was finalizing talks with Washington about using some of the frozen funds to pay Tehran’s U.N. dues in arrears, to which the Islamic republic has also agreed.

To facilitate the trade with Iran of humanitarian items, such as medicine and medical equipment, South Korea has been seeking to use a Swiss channel backed by the U.S., known as the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), to use the money through Swiss companies’ sales of goods to Iran.

Despite the denial from Seoul and Tehran, speculation has mounted that Iran’s discontent over the frozen funds is related to its recent seizure of a South Korean oil tanker and its crew members in the Persian Gulf early last month….


EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Is the North Korean Satellite Launch a Game Changer?

FoxNews reported these developments following the success of North Korea’s satellite launching confirmed by the Pentagon:

We’ve been able to determine that they were able to put a satellite or some space device into orbit,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.

He said the Pentagon will, in light of this, begin “formal consultations” with South Korea over improvements to their own missile defense systems.

“We’d like to see this move as quickly as possible, but we’re beginning the consultations now in the coming days with the South Koreans and we expect that this will move in an expeditious fashion,” Cook said.

The U.S. and other world powers have condemned the launch of a long-range rocket, describing it as a banned test of ballistic missile technology.

At an emergency meeting Sunday of the U.N. Security Council which includes the U.S., all 15 council members approved a statement condemning the launch and pledging to “expeditiously” adopt a new resolution with “significant” new sanctions.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said a new U.N. resolution targeting North Korea over its rocket launch and recent nuclear test must be adopted very quickly and include “unprecedented measures” that its leader, Kim Jong Un, doesn’t expect.

The United States and China have been trying to agree on a new sanctions resolution since North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Jan. 6.

Gordon Chang in a Fox News interview said the North Korean satellite launch is something to worry about. Chang is a veteran North Korea and China analyst, Forbes columnist  author of Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World.  He said the Hermit State “demonstrated the mastery of missile technology.” He was referring to the three stage Unha-3 space vehicle launcher (SLV) that successfully placed a satellite in orbit. Chang further commented that the North Koreans demonstrated they have the means to successfully develop a true ICBM. An ICBM  , as we wrote in an NER/Iconoclast post, yesterday, that  both North Korea and its ready customer Iran could use at attack both coasts of this country. Where yesterday, we posted the news of the North Korean satellite launch with the question“is this a game changer?”  Chang’s comments and the reaction from the Obama White House suggest maybe it is.  US UN Ambassador Samantha Power, called it a missile launch because the SVL and a true ICBM she shared the same technology. That meant in the Administration’s view the successful satellite launch violated UN sanctions against missile testing. However, given the track record will the UN Security Council do anything about this latest North Korean action?

Chang holds that sanctions don’t work with North Korea. Instead He suggested that we might control the aid to North Korea endeavoring to separate the people from the autocratic ruling Kim family. He also suggested that South Korea move 143 companies out of the Kaesong industrial shared with North Korea.  He noted that after the January 6, 2016 nuclear test, no further sanctions were proposed at the UN because China would effectively block them. China he pointed out does a fair amount of banking with North Korea.

The success of the North Korean orbit prompted GOP hopeful Texas Senator Cruz at Saturday night’s to raise the question of whether we should pre-emptive attack North Korea’s missile launches.  Ironic, as this proposal was suggested by the current Administration Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and former Clinton Pentagon Chief William Perry, a decade ago.


The Administration is scrambling now that the Pentagon confirmed that the North Koreans successfully launched a satellite. Launched in a southerly direction, the 200kg.observational satellite is in polar orbit. That means it passes over the US every 95 minutes, perhaps providing imagery and GPS coordinates for possible later use. Yesterday, it missed the window of opportunity, by an hour, to pass over the stadium for 50th Super Bowl Championship game with tens of thousands of fans intent on watching the Denver Broncos beat the North Carolina Panthers for the title.

The Pentagon is talking about providing South Korea with Theater High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system to complete the shorter range missile defense umbrella that the Republic of Korea has in place.

As we said on the Sunday Lisa Benson Show yesterday “it’s great that the U.S. has THAAD and ship borne X band radar floating in the Pacific and both ship and shore based Aegis installations in Eastern Europe (Romania) protecting us from missiles fired towards the East Coast. However, we have nothing in place to provide missile defense our vulnerable Gulf of Mexico coast.”  Ambassador Hank Cooper, the Reagan era SDI chief, warned about the absence of Aegis missile defense installations on our Gulf coast in November 2015 and most recently in a Feb.2, 2016 High Frontier alert. He argues that that our ballistic missile defense shield  on the Gulf coast lacks  the means  to combat the threat of a possible North Korean bomb in a satellite (Fractal Orbital Bomb) or missiles launched from either ships in the Gulf or those silos that allegedly Iran has been building in the Paraguana Peninsula in Venezuela. Ex- CIA director R. James Woolsey and Dr. Peter Pry discussed  in a July 2015 article the threat from FOBS that could trigger an Electronic Magnetic Pulse (EMP) effect over the US sending us back to the dark ages of the 19th Century before the advent of electricity.

This issue came up in the ABC GOP New Hampshire debates, Saturday night. Sen. Cruz raised the matter of a preemptive attack against a future North Korean ICBM launch during those debates. We may have had a hand in prompting it. A twitter rally was held last week by the Nation Security Task Force of America (NSTFA) of the Lisa Benson Show on the missile defense issue. The twitter rally sent out messages at the rate of 400 an hour, one of which caught the attention of a South Carolinian with a close connection to the Senator’s campaign staff. Another NSTFA twitter rally is on deck this Thursday night on the same issue.

The irony is the preemptive attack proposal originated a decade ago in 2006 in a Time Magazine article co authored by then Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, now Pentagon Chief and former Clinton Pentagon chief William Perry. Four nuclear and several space launches and missile tests later, we have a President whose response is to hold more UN sanctions talks with China at the UN that North Korea continually violates.

Meanwhile the North Korean satellite launch coupled with the January 6, 2016 nuclear test exposes the vulnerability of the US to possible missile attack by rogue regimes like North Korea and ally Iran. The lack of a Ballistic Missile Defense demonstrated by this latest successful North Korean satellite launch now vaults the issue to the top of national security issues along with Islamic terrorism for serious discussion in the 2016 Presidential campaign.

Watch, the Fox News report with the Chang interview:

RELATED ARTICLE: In One Graphic, What Countries North Korea’s New Missile Could Hit

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

How Fateful are Israel’s Knesset Elections on March 17th?

Sunday, March 15th, the Voice of Israel (VOI) Global Radio System aired a “National Security” program with Executive Producer and host Dan Diker and guests Dr. Harold Rhode former Pentagon Islamic Affairs expert, Distinguished Gatestone Institute Senior Fellow and Bassem Eid Arab correspondent for VOI. Eid is founder of the Jerusalem-based Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. The thought provoking title was “Whom Do Radical Islamists Want as Israel’s Next Prime Minister?

This is a must listen program for all those concerned about Israel’s future in the run up to Tuesday’s March 17th Israeli Knesset elections.  Those elections have more than 20 parties competing for 120 seats. It will pit the current ruling coalition Likud government led by PM Benjamin Netanyahu against the Zionist Union headed by MK Yitzhak Herzog and former Justice Minister of Hatnuah, Tzipi Livni. There is also a new emerging factor. A coalition negotiated following the Knesset elections. It could include a Joint Arab List that might secure upwards of 13 to 15 seats. The Joint Arab List electoral results might possibly bolster the Zionist Union led opposition, including the leftist Meretz party, seeking to be given the nod to form a ruling coalition if selected by Israel President Reuven Rivlin. The VOI will have extensive live and extended coverage of these important Israeli Knesset elections on March 17th.

You may register and listen live to the VOI here.

Overarching this Knesset elections were disclosures this weekend of the U.S. Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee addressing complaints by PM Netanyahu of “foreign country involvement.” This is a reference to reports that the U.S. Administration has funded NGOs engaged in possible anti-Netanyahu “anyone but Bibi” vote campaigns among the country’s Arab and urban Jewish voters. The effort involves former Obama Presidential campaign field operations staff headed by Jeremy Bird of 270 Strategies.   Support has come from major Obama Jewish Democratic contributors and possibly State Department funding of NGOs.  Whether the Administration would prefer a new Israeli government whose policies might materially affect the national security and sovereignty of Jewish nation is at question?

This  Ides of March VOI “National Security” program, is a fascinating and elucidating commentary about the  dynamics of the contending forces in the regional  Muslim communities,  both Shia and Sunni, and  views of the US Administration as an unreliable ally. That is reflected in the views of Saudi -backed Al Arabiya  that gave  high marks to PM Netanyahu for standing up to the threat posed by  the Islamic State,  Iran  and proxies Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad  and Hezbollah. As pointed out by Dr. Rhode, Al Arabiya, strongly endorsed Netanyahu’s address before the Joint Meeting of Congress on March 3rd seeking to obtain a better deal to deter Iran from achieving nuclear hegemony in the region. There is also discussion of Egypt’s President Al-Sisi’s emerging role of importance trying to fashion a Sunni regional coalition of forces, the equivalent of a NATO – type organization to confront IS.  Al-Sisi’s New Year’s speech in  Cairo, before Al Azhar and the Awqfar  Ministry,  espoused reform of underlying Qur’anic doctrine  that has returned to the takfir purist form of Islam emblematic of the apocalyptic IS, a self styled Caliphate. A Caliphate that as Dr. Rhode pointed out may have been fostered originally by Shia Mahdist Iran now ironically engaged in combating IS in Iraq.

Rhode and Diker suggested that if a more compliant Israel government was elected on Tuesday that IS and Hamas cells in the West Bank and Hezbollah with Iran on the Golan might foment possible trouble.  Iran, as noted by Diker and Rhode, is rapidly spreading its hegemony threatening the region from Yemen on the Red Sea, across the Arabian Peninsula to the shores of the Persian Gulf and through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon on the Mediterranean coast. An Iran whose nuclear quest may have already triggered nuclear proliferation with Saudi Arabia’s disclosure of a recent nuclear development deal with South Korea.  We found fascinating the discussion among Diker, Rhode and Bassem Eid, astute VOI Arab correspondent, on the internal Israel Arab Muslim divide over the question of whether they would support the United Arab List.

Bassem disclosed the previously not well known fact that 60 percent of Israeli Arab Muslims are more likely to vote for Jewish parties as loyal citizens rather than for the Arab list. The Party’s leaders are more concerned about Israel as an ‘apartheid state’.  They have fashioned seditious relations with Ramallah, Gaza, Damascus and even Tehran and all   enemies of Israel. Bassem also noted that the Palestinians view the Likud government and Netanyahu as more reliable with honoring commitments than prior experiences with both Labor and Kadima governments.  Rhode explained that regional Arabs view favorably the Israeli democratic traditions that Arab Muslim citizens enjoy. He told of the impact of that on the Egyptian body guards of the late President Anwar Sadat when he came to Jerusalem in 1977 to give a speech before the Knesset. They noted, he said, the sharp contrast between the quiet respect paid to President Sadat when he spoke and the vigorous debates in the Knesset chamber that followed his address.  The VOI program offers insights into what might occur Tuesday when Israel votes for the 33rd Knesset.  The comments of these American and Israeli experts raise serious questions about the objectives of the US Administration Vis a vis a P5+1 non-binding deal to facilitate Iran’s nuclear hegemony.

Monday, March 16th, this writer and Mike Bates, co-host of Northwest Florida’s Talk Radio 1330 am WEBY will be interviewed by VOI National Security host Dan Diker. That recorded program will address Obama Administration funding via State Department AID and US Jewish moguls involved with OneVoice, V-15 and the Abraham Fund to get out the anti-Bibi vote in Israel. The program will also delve into controversy surrounding Sen. Cotton’s ‘Iran letter’. That controversy has led to revelations suggesting that  the Administration is striving to establish a  rapprochement with the Islamic Republic of Iran  avoiding Congressional review instead  seeking a  nuclear agreement  by the P5+1 at the UN  via a Security Council resolution.  That could result in lifting more than an estimated $70 billion in UN financial sanctions against Iran held in US banks controlled by the US Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control.  Sunday talk show criticism of the Cotton letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran by Secretary of State Kerry and former Secretary Madeleine Albright on CBS’ Face the Nation were contested by Sen. Cotton who drew attention to the precedent of a non verifiable deal made during the Clinton Administration with North Korea that eventuated in the latter’s creating a nuclear stockpile of weapons 12 years later.

Tuesday, VOI host Diker will join Northwest Florida’s talk radio 1330 am WEBY periodic Middle East Round Table co-hosts Bates and Gordon to report first returns from what many consider the fateful 2015 Knesset elections during 4:00 PM CST (5:00 PM EST) segment of “Your Turn”.

Listen Live here.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.