In Israel there is bewilderment and anger at President Obama’s veiled threats, and as many Israelis see it—the President’s bullying. Earlier in the month the President made it clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that if Israel did not accept America’s framework for a two-state solution then the U.S. would no longer defend Israel against United Nation threats and anti-Israel agendas coming out of Europe.
As Israel sees it– as far as Washington is concerned, making peace between the Arabs and Israel has little to do with persuading the Arabs to recognize the Jewish state. Yet Mr. Netanyahu has accepted the landscape of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, Mr. Abbas has said repeatedly that the Palestinians will never accept that Israel is a Jewish state. The PLO continues to refuse to accept Israel’s right to exist. Yet Israel is pressured by America to accept a Palestinian nation within its borders.
A poll by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University revealed last week that 64% of Israelis do not trust Mr. Kerry to treat Israel’s security as a “crucial factor” in the framework peace proposal, while some 53% of Israeli Arabs don’t trust him either. Both the U.S. and Britain present themselves as Israel’s candid friends. Israel doesn’t quite see it like that.—Melanie Phillips, WALL STREET JOURNAL—March 20, 2014
What’s evolving in the Middle East is a copy of what we’re seeing around the rest of the world. From Ukraine and Russia to Asia and the Middle East. International governments watch as America flinches from its role as the world’s chief leader, the nations scramble to form alliances to fill the leadership void Washington is leaving. The message America is sending is—we say one thing but do another—we cannot be trusted as a friend.
For the past 100 years America has been the ballast of the nations and the guarantor of global order. But that is now rapidly changing. President Obama has stated repeatedly that the U.S. is “war weary”. America is cutting back on defense spending and diminishing its involvement across the globe. Our allies are constantly disappointed in Washington, and America’s enemies such as Russia and Iran sense weakness.
If the Israelis are angry with President Obama, then the Saudis are flat out enraged with the President for cutting a deal with Iran—the Saudis biggest rival.
Expect greater international chaos over the years ahead as America withdraws from the international arena. The present administration is viewed as being unstable by many of the world’s leader—and a double-minded leader is unstable in all of his ways (James 1:8). Nations crave stability—so our allies are beginning to look elsewhere.
To its adversaries the United States speaks softly and carries a plastic stick. From Iran to Russia, from Israel to the Far East, and from Egypt to Iraq, Washington stumbles about without any direction or firmness of will. To many of America’s allies, especially Israel, President Obama’s foreign policy calls for the US to appease its adversaries while it ignores its allies.
What the President doesn’t seem to understand is that American inaction in global trouble spots such as Syria, Ukraine and Egypt creates a vacuum, a vacuum that will be filled by America’s enemies.
America’s evacuation from Iraq delivered that country to Iranian dominance. President Obama’s vacillating on Syria encouraged Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah to reverse the tide of war in Syria in President Assad’s favor.
American weakness is undermining our relationship with Japan. Etsuro Honda, a key adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, told The Wall Street Journal Japan needs to develop the military capacity to defend itself by itself. The clear message is that Japan sees America’s weakness in the Middle East and its weak response to Russia over Crimea, which translates into Japan no longer trusts the US to defend it.
In contrast to America, Russia is showing clarity and strength in the region. This is the message to the Ukraine: Obey our rules or we will shut down your agricultural exports (Ukraine is the third-largest grain exporter in the world). We can destroy your economy, and we can cut off your energy overnight if you resist us.
America’s allies are angry with Washington’s red-line challenges all over the world — red lines that quickly fade leaving allies such as Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Ukraine hanging in mid-air.
Columnist Charles Krauthammer writes this regarding the President’s passive foreign policy: The alternative to passivity is not war but a serious foreign policy. For the last five years, Obama’s fruitless accommodationism has invited the kind of aggressiveness demonstrated by Iran in Syria, China in the East China Sea, and Russia in Ukraine. But what’s done is done. Put that aside. What is to be done now?
As Russia – annexes Crimea and possibly eastern Ukraine, because of the ethnic Russian majority in this part of Ukraine, it would also represent the biggest land confiscation since Adolf Hitler in the late 1930s.
As Putin’s agenda unfolds, you don’t hear much from London and Paris. Germany has moved into the leadership role in Europe. A German dominated EU must reach an accommodation with a resurgent Russia. 75 years ago, a strange pact between Russia and Germany led directly to World War II. Watching the reaction of Germany to Russia’s aggression is most important.
As for America—you are witnessing the decline of one of the greatest superpowers in all of history. We are a tired giant that lacks will and clarity. The nations see America’s weakness.
We look to Germany and Central Europe for the rise of a future world authority that replaces America as the world’s dominant power (Revelation 13:1–10). This “Beast” will have one strong dictator who is given authority over ten nations (Revelation 17:12–13; Daniel 2:41–43). As the United States declines because of its sins and immorality, nations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East will scramble to find new allies.
The king of the North (the Beast-led Europe); the king of the South (an Arab-led confederation); and the kings of the East (an Asian coalition of nations, including Russia) will be the major players in the end time. Europe and the East will maintain peace for a time, the Bible reveals that after the North invades the South (moving into Israel), the East will feel pressured to attack the north (Daniel 11:40–44).
A colossal confrontation between Europe and Asia will include armies of enormous size and destruction that will make World War II pale in comparison (Revelation 9:13–18). While Germany might pursue peace with Russia for now, Bible prophecy reveals that there will be a final devastating war between Europe and Asia immediately before Christ’s return.
You can see that the trend toward accepting Marijuana use is on the rise. We have become a sloppy nation that allows more and more foolish, destructive behavior.
Marijuana is an addictive substance that negatively impacts the development of the adolescent brain. One in six kids who use marijuana will become addicted. Early and regular use of marijuana can result in a long-term decrease of 7-8 IQ points. Use of marijuana by kids hijacks their brain’s natural reward system causing a decrease in motivation and ambition, and a decrease in cognitive functions.—by Merilee Fowler—from: Kids need to be educated on the dangers of marijuana use.
We have become like ancient Israel and Judah…they were reprimanded for their pursuit of inebriation Isaiah 5:11 – Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, [that] they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, [till] wine inflames them!
For now Europe remains restless—And the tensions between Russia and the 44 million Ukrainians reminds us that Europe can quickly become violent.
Russia is a major supplier of natural gas, not only to Ukraine, but also to Europe, with the largest pipeline for that gas running through Ukraine itself. Recent history has shown Russia is willing to use the iron fist of energy to achieve its political aims. Russia’s armed intervention in the Crimea tells us of President Putin’s brutal determination to get his way in Ukraine. The unfolding economic crisis in Europe is a key reasons why Russia feels confident right now. Europeans already pay too much for energy—they do not want their gas bills to go even higher.
EU-28 (the 28 countries that make up the member countries in the European Union) do not want to see Russia shut down the pipelines in the Ukraine. 35% to 40% of the total natural-gas imports to the EU comes from Russia, and half of that imported gas flows through Ukraine’s pipelines.
In other words, the EU is addicted to Russian natural gas. How addicted? The four largest economies (by GDP) import much of their natural gas from Russia:
1. Germany—36% from Russia
2. United Kingdom—25% from Russia
3. France—15% from Russia
4. Italy—27% from Russia
Germany is Russia’s largest customer in Europe for natural gas, Europe is just too vulnerable because of its heavy dependence on Russian energy. It is also important that Russia maintains a good relationship with its primary customers — Poland Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. So Russia will be careful not to offend its top trading partners.
Russia’s Gazprom (energy company), controlling almost a fifth of the world’s gas reserves, supplies more than half of Ukraine’s, and about 35% of Europe’s gas annually. So don’t expect Europe to react too strongly against Russia…this is what Mark Grant (Financial analyst) wrote this morning (sarcastic, but perceptive):
The European Union is meeting now to decide on sanctions for Russia. Many leaders have made quite strong statements about this issue. I can only shake my head in wonder. The Germans are calling for refusing to ship bratwurst for one week. France wants to exclude any shipments of Mouton Rothschild for ten days while Greece is considering shutting down the Mykonos hotel discounts for seventy-two hours. Man, these Europeans are tough.
Russia’s strategy involves the creation of deep buffers to the West, while it manipulates its neighbors, creating a new regional balance of power in Europe that gives it the buffers it is so determind to have. Russia will not allow the Ukraine to slide over to the European Union (politically). Russia needs the Ukraine as a buffer and agricultural ally, also it is a key nexus for its gas exports. Did you know the Ukraine produces more grain than any other nation with the exception of the United States.
Wars and rumors of wars continues (Matthew 24:6)—Nation shall rise against nation—verse 7.
Sexual decadence and financial corruption is overwhelming the Catholic Church.
The greatest battle the Pope has to fight is the mounting rage concerning sexual abuse by clergy spreading to more than 25 countries. In America this has inflicted enormous financial damage. Various sexual-abuse cases have cost the American church over $3 billion so far. Thousands of claims for damages following sexual-abuse cases, have led to a liquidity crisis— the church pays over $1m per victim, according to legal resources.
In a stunning move to clean up corruption within the Roman Curia (the administrative machine of the Roman Church) Pope Francis announced the creation of a single authority to handle all business, administrative and personnel management at the ‘Holy See’. Financial scandals, including financial impropriety at the Vatican Bank have stained the Roman Catholic Church’s reputation among believers and non-Catholics over the past twenty years.
The new Secretariat for the Economy will oversee the Vatican’s annual budget, seek counsel from financial professionals for advice, and launch surprise internal audits. Heading the secretariat is Australian Cardinal George Pell, the archbishop of Sydney. Pell is a member of a group of eight handpicked cardinals whom Francis is using to reform the Vatican leadership structure.
The Catholic Church is very wealthy, but much of its wealth is tied up in property, art and precious objects. There is a real problem concerning cash flow.
From the Economist Magazine [Aug 18th 2012]:
The Economist estimates that annual spending by the church and entities owned by the church was around $170 billion in 2010 (the church does not release such figures). We think 57% of this goes on health-care networks, followed by 28% on colleges, with parish and diocesan day-to-day operations accounting for just 6% and national charitable activities just 2.7% (see chart). In total, Catholic institutions employ over 1m people, reckons Fred Gluck, a former McKinsey managing partner and co-founder of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, a lay organisation seeking to improve the way the church is run. For purposes of secular comparison, in 2010 General Electric’s revenue was $150 billion and Walmart employed roughly 2m people.
Prophecy tells us the great false church is branded in Revelation as a faithless harlot (prostitute). “And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Revelation:17:5). Her secular relationships reach into the highest political and social circles in national governments and the business world: “The kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury” (Revelation:18:3). God remembers her foul activities, knowing that “her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” (verse 5).