The Religious Foundations of Magna Carta’s Legacy of Liberty

Issued by England’s King John in 1215, Magna Carta sets a series of constraints on the monarchy that became a fundamental part of the British constitution, and a direct line can be traced from this charter to the traditions of limited government that underpin the American founding. It is also, as Walter Russell Mead, Jonathan Silver, and Catherine Pakaluk explain, a document that places religion front and center. Mead observes that it opens with a “reassertion of the rights of the church,” and takes as axiomatic that “freedom and liberty if not grounded in reverence and faith sooner or later will go badly.” To Mead, the lesson to be learned from Magna Carta is that the cause of liberty and the preservation of tradition go hand in hand. (Video, 77 minutes.)

Read more at Providence

More about: American founding, England, Freedom, Religion and politics

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy