October 10, 2016

A New Cold War

Ties between Russia and the U.S. have greatly deteriorated in the past few years. The down- turn started in 2012 when Russian General Nikolay Yegorovich Makarov said that there is a possibility of a preemptive strike on new missile defense sites in Eastern Europe. Also that year, nuclear armed Russian forces began shadowing the American border.

Relations between the two nations went into a nose dive in 2014 when Moscow annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea on the basis of a referendum. Over the next two years, six rounds of sanctions were imposed on Russia. The first three rounds targeted individuals close to Putin by freezing their assets. The other three sanctions cut off Russian corporations from Western financing.

Another strain has been a series of hacking attacks by Russian agents. In October 2014, Russian hackers exploited a software bug to spy on computers used by NATO, the European Union and Ukrainian energy companies. Hackers linked to Russian intelligence services stole and leaked 20,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, warned Russian not to “interfere with our democratic processes.”

Edward Snowden, the contractor for the United States government who copied and released hundreds of thousands of pages of secret government documents has added to the strain. He fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia; in July of 2013 Russia granted him political asylum

The Syrian civil war is the current source of tension between Washington and Moscow. The government of Syria receives technical, financial, military and political support from Russia, while the U.S. favors several rebel groups. The U.S. blames Russia for indiscriminate bombings that have killed civilians.

The mistrust is taking its toll on previous treaties. Last week, Putin cited Washington’s “unfriendly actions” as the reason for him ending a pact on the disposal of nuclear material. Under the agreement, Russia and the U.S. each were to destroy 34 metric tons of plutonium, enough material for about 17,000 nuclear warheads.

I find it strange that Obama would be at odds with Vladimir Putin. In his nearly eight years in office, he has made friends with nearly every dictator on the planet. He even refuses to directly condemn Islamic terrorists. I guess it is just fitting of his destructive nature that he would choose to lock horns with a guy who controls thousands of nuclear weapons.

The liberal media has given very little coverage to the souring of the relationship between the U.S. and Russia. Since the press operates under the idea that Obama is a faultless president, a return to the Cold War under his watch is unthinkable.

It should have been obvious to all that Obama and Putin hate each. They were engaged in a death stare as the two leaders met at the G-20 summit in China. Our former Cold War presidents had many meetings with their Soviet counterparts during some trying times, but I’ve never seen footage of one that looks like it was about to turn into a boxing match.

The Russian press has no delusions about the rising tension. Several news organizations in Russia have issued a chilling warning that war with the West could be imminent. Zvezda, a nationwide TV service run by the country’s Ministry of Defense, said last month, “Schizophrenics from America are sharpening nuclear weapons for Moscow.”

Obama may hate Putin, but he has avoided getting into armed conflict with him. Many members of his administration have called for action that would put Russia and the U.S. in direct conflict with each other. The New York Timesrecently published the audio of Kerry in which he says he had “lost the argument” for the use of force against the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

“I think you’re looking at three people, four people in the [Obama] administration who have all argued for use of force, and I lost the argument,” Kerry said. “I’ve argued for the use of force.”

The strain between Russia and the U.S. would get even worse if Hillary Clinton were to win next month’s election. She has a much deeper hatred for Putin and she is a war hawk. When Clinton was secretary of state, she pressured Obama to take more aggressive military action in a variety of conflicts, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia, and Syria.

Bible prophecy tells us that Russia will someday lead an attack against Israel. The growing hostility between the U.S. and Russia may not be the catalyst. But if Putin did have any hesitancies about upsetting America, that is clearly no longer a factor.

“After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.

Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought” (Ezekiel 38:8-10).


When God Promises

Every presidential election in recent times has been talked about as one of the most crucial in America’s history. This election has added to it, however, anxiety among voters the likes of which I can’t recall.

Not everyone is so concerned, of course. Those I’m referring to who are so concerned are those who truly see the nation as on a pathway of rapid decline in most every aspect of society and culture. From the issues of the debauching of morality like instituting same-sex marriage and same-sex public toilet facilities…to a presidential administration that seems to have thrown the U.S. Constitution out the window of common sensibility…to the deliberate creation of an economic morass that has built to the point that the government routinely lies, fabricating statistics to try to convince the American people that they aren’t in reality in the portentous economic predicament their circumstances plainly indicates, intensive fear is building.

There is genuine worry within the heartland of America that we have a government that is no longer recognizable as founded. And, the even greater worry is that this condition has been deliberately brought about by elected leaders whose primary concerns is feathering their own personal and political power nests.

Certainly, looking across America’s landscape of the present hour, it isn’t easy to find a glimmer of hope to offer those with these concerns. The cajoling of voters for their votes by the politicians and their great, swelling promises of the campaign stump suddenly disappear when they win elections. They join in or revert to their old Washington ways once put into or returned to office. It would be foolhardy to expect that this election will see accomplished a different result.

Tremendous pressures exerted upon newly elected members of Congress to join the insider network or else be marginalized and rendered ineffectual has been made blatantly observable over the last number of mid-term elections in particular. Once the candidates have been within the D.C. Beltway for a certain period of time, they melt into the system. They seem to disconnect from their constituency until time to get out and shore up their support at home.

The politicians’ promises, almost without exception, fade into the canyons of lost memories, the destination for which they are intended all along by the Washington power brokers. Yet to so many amongst the citizenry, the government has come to demand god-like reverence. The largess that the power brokers provide from cradle to grave has replaced reliance upon provision by the true God of Heaven in the mainstream of life in America–this swiftly taking our nation in the opposite direction intended by the founding fathers.

Each succeeding election proves again and again that the politicians’ promises were never intended to be kept. Yet we the people continue to place trust in those who, in many cases, have been in those positions of power for decades. It’s a form of insanity, I think–reprobate thinking brought on by our sinful ways and activity. Again, the definition of insanity is trying the same thing time after time to solve problems even though it fails every time.

This brought to mind for this week’s commentary the distinctly defined difference–the contrast–between those promises given by the politicians and the promises made by our God in Heaven.

Actually, it was the actions of the current president of the United States in Jerusalem attending the funeral of former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres that brought this contrast to mind. Mr. Obama’s White House publicity writers, while reporting Obama’s trip to Jerusalem for Peres’ funeral, made a faux pas that had to be quickly corrected.

Obama correctly stated in his prepared remarks while attending the funeral, “I could not be more honored to be in Jerusalem to say farewell to my friend Shimon Peres, who showed us that justice and hope are at the heart of the Zionist idea.”

However, the White House initially put in the announcement of the president’s going to the funeral that the ceremony would be in ”Jerusalem, Israel.” The embarrassed White House staff put out within six hours of the faux pas the corrected statement that indicated that in fact Jerusalem is disputed territory.

In other words, Israel, in the eyes of U.S. politicians, has no claim to Israel more valid than do those who claim possession among the Palestinians. The U.S. State Department has, in fact, refused to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, placing the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

The same politicians who make us promises election after election and quickly forget them once they’ve been voted in office tell Israel that, in effect, God’s promise to that nation is not valid. Yet while the politicians prove election after election that it is their own promises that are not valid, the God of Heaven, through the very nation of Israel, which is at the heart of so much worldwide anger and controversy, has proven beyond any doubt that He keeps His promises.

He has said that Israel, once established in the land, will never be uprooted again. He said it would be made a nation again in a single day. He said that Israel will never stop being His people. He has kept every promise. We can know therefore, beyond any doubt that while the politicians of this nation and world almost never keep even one promise, the God of the Universe never will break a promise.

That God has said to His people Israel regarding Jerusalem, “For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” (Zechariah 2:8)

The Lord has also promised that because the politicians of this world will “divide my land,” He will bring the whole world into the Valley of Jehoshaphat–to Armageddon (Joel 3:2).

That’s why we watch Israel so closely in the observation of the unfolding of history in view of Bible prophecy. Israel is absolute proof of the veracity of God’s Word. He keeps His promises–and Israel is the proof! To apply this to the fear and trepidation that so many Christians are expressing today about the upcoming election and what lies beyond November 8, I urge that we consider our Great, Promise-Keeping God.

He has told us that we will be completely kept out of the time of the soon-to-come era of horror termed the Tribulation–out of His Judgment and Wrath (Revelation 3: 10). He will take the Bride of Christ –the Church– off this condemned planet when all of the troubling signals begin to come to pass (Luke 21: 28).

When God promises, it is as good as accomplished. This promise, I hope you will sense in your spirit as do I, is about to be kept.