IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Flash Points 2022: Ukraine, Russia, & the Primakov Doctrine - By Matt Ward - https://www.raptureready.com/2022/01/23/they-dont-see-it-coming-by-daymond-duck/
The United States of America is no longer the undisputed hegemon of the Middle East. It is Russia, at the dawn of 2022, that is now the indispensable power in that region. Over the last decade, Russia’s political, economic and diplomatic footprint has expanded rapidly while that of the West has receded and is now deteriorating fast.
Russia’s return to the international community as an important global actor is no new phenomenon. It has been planned. For decades, Moscow’s foreign policy has been predicated upon Russia once again assuming the standing of a recognized, world-leading nation. Yet it has only been after the opportunities presented by the Arab Spring that those grandiose plans have moved towards fulfillment. Since the Arab Spring, it has become increasingly apparent just how far-reaching and wide those Russian ambitions really were and currently are.
It all began in 1996 with the appointment of a new Foreign Minister, Yevgeny Primakov. It was Primakov that first formulated a new Russian approach to international relations that now bears his name, the Primakov Doctrine. Essentially, this new doctrine charted a different path for Russian foreign policy ambitions, one that did not foresee Russia following the lead of its Western partners anymore.
Indeed, it was very much the opposite. According to the Primakov doctrine, Russia would now no longer follow the lead of the West in world geopolitics but would instead seek to reposition itself as an independent center of power on the world stage in its own right. Primakov was very deliberately setting Russia up as an alternative to the 1990’s US-led world order. To all intents and purposes, at the beginning of 2022, it would seem that this policy has been very successful.
Indeed, current Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov acknowledged this in October 2014 when he said,
“The moment he (Primakov) took over the Russian Foreign Ministry heralded a dramatic turn in Russia’s foreign policy. Russia left the path our Western partners had tried to make it follow after the breakup of the Soviet Union and embarked on a track of its own.” (1)
This guiding principle has commanded Russian foreign policy ever since. Now, some thirty years later, it has continued to evolve from what was an initial passive resistance to any Western initiatives to an active willingness of Moscow to take as much advantage as possible of any auspicious international events that could be exploited to the maximum advantage of Russia. The Arab Spring should be seen in this context, and take advantage of it, Russia surely did.
There have, however, been other successes that have only served to embolden Russia and her leadership, much to the exasperation of the international community. The annexation of Crimea, the war in eastern Ukraine and Russian meddling within it, the recent and ongoing standoff with the West in the Baltic and Black Seas, Russia’s substantial involvement in Syria and the rescuing of the Assad regime, and of course, the ongoing alleged Russian involvement in US and Western European domestic politics.
All these interventions should be seen in the light of the Primakov Doctrine. They are all efforts at extending Russian influence towards the Middle East and former Soviet republics. They are all efforts at destabilizing traditional Russian adversaries and enhancing Russia’s global position as a center of power in its own right, much to the detriment of the United States and NATO.
Yet it is not only Russia’s willingness to exploit opportunities that have enhanced its global standing in recent years; the West’s own ineptitude has contributed to it. When Russia intervened to annex Crimea, or in the war in eastern Ukraine, for example, it did so only after NATO had expressly stated beforehand that it would not risk open war with Russia over Ukraine. Such ineptitude only serves to dramatically embolden a Russian foreign policy machine that is already looking to actively exploit every opportunity in order to enhance its own global power base.
Events around the world have also increased Russian influence. The ruin left in the wake of Western interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention Libya, has allowed Russia to insert itself into these important spheres of influence and actively shape the new, emerging order there in ways very much beneficial to Russian interests alone.
Conversely, the epically inept recent US withdrawal from Afghanistan has also taught Russian decision-makers two important foreign policy lessons; firstly, that the United States is likely no longer prepared to back up policy with its military, and, more decisively, that America is currently being led by incompetent, unskilled, amateurish and a morally bankrupt leadership.
And so, we get to the current flash point of Ukraine. Over the past three months, Russia has moved in excess of 175,000 troops right up to, and all along, the Russian-Ukraine border. That they are intending some kind of invasion seems obvious. Any such invasion will likely have to occur in the next two months before the winter thaw makes efficiently moving such huge numbers of troops over boggy ground too difficult, if not impossible.
Russia is doing this because they sense an opportunity here and because they feel uniquely threatened by the encroachment of NATO into its former Soviet republics. Russia fears NATO expansion into eastern Europe and broods on the fact that there is no longer any effective buffer zone between NATO and the Russian border itself. As a result of this, current Russian policy is to aggressively assert itself into these former republics where possible, to “Balkanize” them, and thus create a bulwark and a barrier against Western militaries and their possible missile arsenals. It is in this guise that we should view what is happening right now in Ukraine.
Rapid de-escalation is necessary for any kind of conflict to be averted. At this point, no such de-escalation has occurred or looks as if it will. The United States and the EU have jointly threatened Russia with “massive” retaliation should Russia invade Ukraine. President Biden has gone so far as to say that should Russia invade, then the United States will impose upon Russia the harshest set of sanctions ever seen by the United States against any nation in the world.
If Russia does invade, it is likely that Russia would attempt to use its own version of “shock and awe,” as it has done so many times in the past. Using a mixture of massive cyber and electronic warfare attacks, it would likely seek to establish a quick victory in eastern Ukraine. However, Ukraine can fight. They have a military that is battle-hardened by seven years of fighting. In 2014, in eastern Ukraine, Russia sent in irregular forces who were beaten back by hastily organized Ukrainian citizenry. So much so that the Russians were forced to send in regular forces.
If Ukraine does not break quickly, Russia may pay a heavy price. Since 2014, the United States has provided Ukraine with $2.5 billion of military aid (2), with a potential in any conflict for much more, including helicopters, Stinger missiles, Javelin anti-tank missiles, armed patrol boats, hundreds of anti-aircraft launchers and substantial aid with intelligence, satellite imagery and analysis, and command and control capabilities.
The huge danger is that if Ukraine’s circumstances become truly dire in any conflict with Russia, then NATO allies might consider intervening with their own forces. A wider European war could easily begin in such a way. World wars begin in this way.
Ukraine today is one of the few places on Earth with the potential for a direct Russian-US confrontation. As such, it makes it one of the most dangerous flash points of 2022. The Kremlin is risking all on the huge pressure it is now exerting on Ukraine, resulting in it realigning itself with Russia, not the West. Putin is hoping to bring Ukraine firmly back within the Russian sphere of influence and to therefore keep NATO further at bay.
But will Vladimir Putin really begin a war with Ukraine? The short answer is that we cannot know; we can only hope that calm heads will eventually prevail. One thing is clear though; Russia, under Vladimir Putin, is increasingly expansionist.
The Bible tells us very clearly that Russia’s gaze will definitely move on from Ukraine to settle on Israel at some point in the near future. Approximately 2,500 years ago, Ezekiel foretold events that would occur in Russia’s as yet near future.
“You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you” (Ezekiel 38:15).
Daniel, in Daniel 5:5-35, also describes an invasion of Israel with a “king of the North” as the commander. This invading army will arrive “from the far north.” Russia is the only modern nation that fits this “far north” description.
Vladimir Putin is aggressively seeking reunification of the former Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe. He is also proactively following the Primakov Doctrine in the Middle East in places like Syria, ever seeking to expand Russian power and influence. How long until his gaze falls upon the “Beautiful land,” Israel?
Looking at events currently unfolding in both Eastern Europe and the Middle East, my guess is, not too long.
Keep looking up.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3: 5-6).
“Lavrov Predicts Historians May Coin a New Term: The Primakov Doctrine,” TASS, October 28, 2014, http://tass.com/russia/756973
10 Signs That Indicate That The U.S., The UK, Israel And NATO All Believe That We Are On The Precipice Of War With Russia - by Michael Snyder - http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/10-signs-that-indicate-that-the-u-s-the-uk-israel-and-nato-all-believe-that-we-are-on-the-precipice-of-war-with-russia/
Are we about to stumble into a war that nobody wants? As I will explain below, it would be so easy to avoid a military conflict with Russia, but the people running our foreign policy have ruled out any easy solutions. Instead, they seem absolutely determined to have some sort of a macho showdown with Russia, and that is extremely dangerous. Sadly, these days most Americans can’t even identify our current Secretary of State, and the name “Jake Sullivan” means absolutely nothing to the vast majority of the population. But these are the guys that are telling the senile old guy in the Oval Office what to do about Russia.
What the Russians want is not complicated.
They don’t want western missiles in Ukraine, and they don’t want Ukraine to join NATO.
Those two requests are not unreasonable. Just imagine how we would feel if Canada joined a military alliance with Russia and all of a sudden there were Russian missiles stationed all along the U.S.-Canadian border.
We wouldn’t like that very much, would we?
Well, that is how the Russians feel about the situation in Ukraine.
The Russians have put their requests into two draft treaties, but those two draft treaties have been firmly rejected by the Biden administration…
Speaking to reporters following talks in Geneva with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Friday, Blinken said that the American side had given a “firm and substantive” response to two draft treaties proposed by Moscow.
“I made clear to Minister Lavrov that there are certain principles that the US, our partners and allies, are committed to defend. That includes those that would impede the sovereign right of the Ukrainian people to write their own future. There is no trade-space there – none,” he said.
If Blinken, Sullivan and the rest of Joe Biden’s national security team were actually competent, this crisis could be over by now.
But instead they have made it clear that there will be absolutely no compromises.
So where do we go from here?
The following are 10 signs that indicate that the U.S., the UK, Israel and NATO all believe that we are on the precipice of war with Russia…
#1 The U.S. State Department has issued a formal travel advisory warning that Americans should stay out of Ukraine.
#2 The U.S. and the UK are both reducing embassy staffing levels in Kyiv.
#3 Family members of U.S. embassy personnel in Kyiv are being evacuated.
#4 Israel is planning a “mass evacuation” of Jewish people from Ukraine.
#5 CNN is reporting that as many as “8,500 US troops have been put on heightened alert for a possible deployment to Eastern Europe”.
#6 The New York Times is reporting that the Biden administration is also considering sending “warships and aircraft” into the region.
#7 Other western European nations are also preparing to send forces to eastern Europe…
Denmark is sending a frigate and deploying F-16 warplanes to Lithuania; Spain will send warships and could send fighter jets to Bulgaria; and France stands ready to send troops to Romania.
#8 A British news source is reporting that “hundreds of military trains packed with Russian troops” have been moving into Belarus.
#9 UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is alleging that the Russians are planning a “lightning war that could take out Kyiv”.
#10 The U.K.’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has announced that they have obtained information “suggesting that the Russian government is plotting to install a pro-Kremlin leader in Kyiv”.
Despite all of the hysteria, I personally do not believe that war will erupt immediately.
But without a doubt, the stage is definitely being set for the sort of military conflict with Russia that I have been warning about for many years.
Meanwhile, the U.S. also continues to provoke China.
This weekend, two U.S. aircraft carrier groups “began operations in the South China Sea”…
Two US aircraft carrier groups have entered the disputed South China Sea as Chinese Air Force planes continue to fly near Taiwan, which China also claims.
The US Navy says two carrier strike groups, led by the USS Carl Vinson and USS Abraham Lincoln, began operations in the South China Sea on Saturday.
If you really want to piss off China, that is a great way to do it.
In response, the Chinese sent large numbers of warplanes into Taiwanese airspace on Sunday and Monday…
On Monday, the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense said 13 Chinese planes flew into the country’s Air Defense Identification Zone. Taiwan reported 39 Chinese Air Force planes in the protected air space on Sunday.
I know that the Russians are getting far more attention from the mainstream media right now, but we are also getting dangerously close to a military conflict with the Chinese.
The national security team that Joe Biden has surrounded himself with are extremely incompetent, and they are also a bunch of warmongers.
Needless to say, that is an exceedingly combustible combination.
It is the worst national security team in the history of the United States by a wide margin, and I am entirely convinced that they are going to spark a war.
Hopefully it will not be next week or even next month, but without a doubt the clock is ticking.
These warmongers are making colossal mistake after colossal mistake, and it won’t be too long before we all pay a great price for their ineptitude.
The Russia-China Axis - How America Responds Could Set Up New World Order – Soren Kern - https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=5177
As Russia continues its troop build-up along the border with Ukraine, China has markedly increased its military activity near Taiwan. The twin geopolitical flashpoints, separated by 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles), are raising concerns that Russia and China could coordinate or conduct concurrent military offensives that the United States and its allies may find difficult to stop.
A failure to deter Russia and China -- deterrence, especially military pre-positioning near the area under threat, is the least costly way to avoid war -- would deal a potentially crushing blow to the post-World War II liberal international order.
That system -- whose principles and norms, including adherence to the rule of law, respect for human rights and the promotion of liberal democracy, as well as preserving the sanctity of territorial sovereignty and existing boundaries -- has regulated the conduct of international relations for nearly 80 years.
Analysts warn that the crisis in Ukraine, which China presumably is closely watching, may represent a turning point in world politics. An invasion of Ukraine would open the door for Russia to extend its military tentacles to countries in the Baltics and Eastern Europe. It could also embolden China to invade Taiwan, which would allow Beijing to set its sights on economic powerhouses Japan and South Korea, as well as on other regional allies of the United States.
Observers worry that Russia and China -- so-called revisionist authoritarian powers seeking to establish a post-Western global order that extols autocracy over democracy -- may leverage control over Ukraine and Taiwan to carve out exclusive spheres of influence in their respective parts of the globe.
If they succeed in dividing the world into zones of exclusive control, Russia and China would effectively collapse the Western global order and restore the unstable international system of great power rivalry that existed before -- and ended with -- the two world wars of the twentieth century.
Analysts are divided over the question of whether Russia and China ultimately will use military force to achieve their territorial ambitions, but nearly all agree that if they do, it will be because Moscow and Beijing feel emboldened by their perception that the West -- led by the United States and Europe -- is weaker and more divided than at any other point in recent memory.
Russia and Ukraine
A massive build-up of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border has been fueling speculation of an imminent invasion. In recent months, Russia has deployed at least 100,000 troops on Ukraine's eastern border, according to satellite images. An American intelligence document obtained by the Washington Post assessed that Russia is planning a multi-front offensive involving nearly 200,000 troops.
The unclassified document, which included satellite photos, showed Russian forces amassing in four locations near Ukraine. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has warned that Russia will be ready to invade in late January 2022.
Analysts are divided on what is motivating Putin. Some believe that he is using the Ukraine issue to deflect from domestic problems, including runaway inflation and a divisive push for Covid vaccine passports. Others say that Putin is fixated on restoring Russian control over Ukraine and other former members of the former Soviet Union.
In July 2021, Putin penned a 7,000-word essay -- "On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians" -- in which he outlined the basis for his claims against Ukraine. He openly questioned the legitimacy of Ukraine's borders and argued that modern-day Ukraine occupies "the lands of historical Russia." He concluded: "I am confident that true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia."
Putin's essay was variously characterized as "a final ultimatum," "a masterclass in disinformation," and "one step short of a declaration of war."
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, in a hard-hitting article, described Putin's arguments as "short on accuracy and long on contradictions." He added:
"President Putin's article completely ignores the wishes of the citizens of Ukraine, while evoking that same type of ethnonationalism which played out across Europe for centuries and still has the potential to awaken the same destructive forces of ancient hatred."
Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko said:
"Putin's article claims to be about history, but in reality it is about the future and not the past. Ukraine holds the key to Putin's dreams of restoring Russia's great power status. He is painfully aware that without Ukraine, this will be impossible.
"Putin's essay does not actually contain anything new. Indeed, we have already heard these same arguments many times before. However, his article does help clarify that the current conflict is not about control over Crimea or eastern Ukraine's Donbas region; it is a war for the whole of Ukraine. Putin makes it perfectly clear that his goal is to keep Ukraine firmly within the Russian sphere of influence and to prevent Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration."
Max Seddon, Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times, wrote:
"Analysts say Putin's desire to rid Ukraine of Western influence is underpinned by a conviction that it is an inalienable part of the 'Russian world,' a Moscow-centric sphere of influence rooted in the Soviet Union and the Tsarist empire.
"Putin has described the collapse of the USSR ... as 'the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century' and has questioned the grounds on which Ukraine broke off from Russia.
"Following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, Putin likened the Ukrainian peninsula, where Vladimir the Great -- the first Christian ruler of Rus, a medieval state ruled from Kyiv -- was baptized in 988AD, as 'Russia's Temple Mount' -- a notion that has no theological basis but cast Putin as the protector of Russians everywhere."
Pavlo Klimkin, Ukraine's former foreign minister, added:
"Putin has a sense of mission on reinstalling a new kind of empire. It's sitting very deep in his mind. Any separate path of Ukraine would be highly damaging to the Russian mythology."
Tinatin Khidasheli, former defense minister of Georgia, warned:
"Putin's apparent indifference towards Western warnings is understandable. He has been hearing the same empty promises of decisive action, typically accompanied by expressions of grave concern, ever since the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008....
"Firmly worded Western statements of condemnation did not deter Putin from seizing and annexing Crimea. Nor have they succeeded in facilitating the withdrawal of Russian forces from eastern Ukraine or Moldova....
"We are currently witnessing the logical continuation of this historical process, with Russia's ambitions now extending to all the countries of the former Warsaw Pact.
"Putin's recent list of security demands makes clear that he seeks to reassert Russian domination throughout the post-Soviet space. This will enhance Russia's claims to superpower status while exposing the inability of the Western powers to keep their promises. Crucially, it will also allow Putin to safeguard his own political future....
"None of this was inevitable. Like all bullies, Putin retreats when confronted by genuine strength and advances only when he senses weakness.... In order to cut Putin back down to size, all that is necessary is for Western actions to finally match Western words."
Swedish scholar Anders Åslund concluded:
"Make no mistake: by denying Ukraine's right to independence, Putin is setting the stage for war. The West must quickly decide what it is willing to do to prevent it."
China and Taiwan
While Russia has been threatening Ukraine, China has significantly increased its military and diplomatic intimidation of Taiwan, an island that, since 1949, has been governed independently of mainland China.
Taiwan considers itself to be a sovereign state, but China says it is a breakaway province that will be taken by force if necessary. In an October 2021 speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed that Taiwan would be "reunified" with China:
"No one should underestimate the Chinese people's staunch determination, firm will, and strong ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled -- and will definitely be fulfilled."
In July 2021, in a speech marking the 100th birthday of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, Xi promised to "smash" any Taiwanese attempts at formal independence:
"Solving the Taiwan question and realizing the complete reunification of the motherland are the unswerving historical tasks of the Chinese Communist Party and the common aspiration of all Chinese people. All sons and daughters of China, including compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, must work together and move forward in solidarity, resolutely smashing any 'Taiwan independence' plots."
Previously, Xi said that Taiwan "must and will be" reunited with China. He also warned that China reserved the right to use force to bring Taiwan to heel.
Beijing has reinforced its hostile rhetoric by sending record numbers of fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers into Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ). An ADIZ, which extends 12 nautical miles from a country's coast, serves as a buffer between international airspace and a country's territorial airspace. An ADIZ allows countries to monitor and respond to aircraft before they actually enter their airspace.
The number of large-scale incursions -- so-called gray-zone warfare, which entails using irregular tactics to exhaust a foe without actually resorting to open combat -- notably increased after U.S. President Joe Biden took office. Thomas J. Shattuck, deputy director of the Asia Program at the US-based Foreign Policy Research Institute, noted:
"After President Joseph Biden took office, the incursions became more provocative in nature, and the use of fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers increased significantly throughout 2021. During Biden's first days in office, the PLA conducted two consecutive days of exercises in Taiwan's southwestern ADIZ, which simulated an attack against the nearby USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group. This two-day exercise, which included 28 aircraft, marked the highest number of aircraft to enter Taiwan's ADIZ since September 2020. During Biden's first month in office, fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers were used in ten incursions -- a significant bump in usage from 2020."
Analysts are divided over the question of whether China will invade Taiwan. Some argue China does not yet possess the naval and logistics capability successfully to launch an all-out invasion across the choppy waters of the Taiwan Strait, which create a natural moat. Others note that an invasion would be a highly risky gambit; a failure would damage the prestige of the Chinese Communist Party and possibly lead to its downfall.
In an extensive Reuters report -- "The Battle for Taiwan" -- analysts David Lague and Maryanne Murray interviewed two dozen military planners from China, Taiwan, the United States, Japan and Australia on their views of how China may try to seize Taiwan, and how the United States might stop it.
"Chinese control of Taiwan would dramatically reinforce the Communist Party's prestige at home and eliminate the island as a viable model of a democratic alternative to authoritarian Party rule. It would also give China a foothold in the so-called first island chain, the line which runs through the string of islands from the Japanese archipelago to Taiwan, the Philippines and Borneo, which enclose China's coastal seas.
"For Beijing, success would translate into a commanding strategic position in Asia, undermining the security of Japan and South Korea, and allowing China to project power into the Western Pacific. But Beijing also has an incentive to be cautious: If America and its allies intervened against a takeover attempt, they could inflict heavy losses on an untested Chinese military that has not fired a shot in anger for decades. Defeat could weaken the Party's hold on power....
"For the American alliance, a Chinese takeover of Taiwan would be a devastating blow. At a stroke, the United States would lose its status as the pre-eminent power in Asia, according to most U.S. and regional military experts. If America were unwilling or unable to defend Taiwan, its network of allies in the Asia-Pacific -- including Tokyo, Seoul and Canberra -- would overnight be far more vulnerable to military and economic coercion from China. Some might switch allegiance to Beijing, analysts say. Some might seek nuclear weapons to boost their own security."
Russia and China
Many observers agree that China is closely watching the U.S. response to Russia's activities in Ukraine, and that the challenges posed by Russia and China are a test of American credibility.
In an interview with the New York Times, retired U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis, the former supreme allied commander at NATO, noted:
"Vladimir Putin has invaded two democratic neighbors in just over a decade. Letting him do it a third time would set the global system back decades. Appeasement does not work any better now than it worked for Neville Chamberlain in the late 1930s. China will be watching U.S. support to Ukraine, and it will inform their calculus regarding Taiwan."
In a statement, U.S. Representative Mike McCaul of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said:
"I strongly urge President Biden not to make concessions at the expense of our strategic partner Ukraine in response to the Putin regime's provocative military buildup. This would not only fail to de-escalate tensions, it would also embolden Vladimir Putin and his fellow autocrats by demonstrating the United States will surrender in the face of saber-rattling. Particularly in the aftermath of the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Nord Stream 2 capitulation, U.S. credibility from Kyiv to Taipei cannot withstand another blow of this nature."
On December 15, Putin and Xi, in a video call, vowed to defend each other's interests against the United States and its allies. Yuri Ushakov, a foreign policy adviser to Putin, said that the Russian president had told his "old friend" Xi about the "mounting threats to Russia's national interests from the US and the NATO bloc, which consistently move their military infrastructure close to the Russian borders." Xi reportedly replied that he sympathized with Putin and "especially stated his support."
Ushakov added that Xi said China and Russia now had a relationship that was stronger than an alliance. "At present, certain international forces are arbitrarily interfering in the internal affairs of China and Russia under the guise of democracy and human rights, and brutally trampling on international law and the norms of international relations," Xi said, according to Chinese state television.
In a report -- "Will Russia Invade Ukraine? Moscow's Threat to European Security" -- published by the UK-based Henry Jackson Society, Ukraine expert Taras Kuzio warned:
"A weak Western response to a Russian invasion of Ukraine would send the wrong signal to China. After all, 'Putin speaks of Moscow's eternal bond with Kyiv in nearly the same way that Chinese leaders demand reunification with Taiwan.' With Russians and the Chinese viewing Ukraine and Taiwan respectively as part of their homelands, whatever the West does -- or does not do -- in response to a Russian invasion of Ukraine will be eagerly watched in Beijing. China supports Russia's ultimatums. A 'potential nightmare scenario' in 2022 would be 'Russia invading Ukraine and China launching a military campaign to take back Taiwan.'"
Michael Schuman, a China scholar at the US-based Atlantic Council, in an essay -- "China is Watching Ukraine With a Lot of Interest" -- wrote that the Ukraine crisis is a crucial test of American global power, and that the United States is facing the "stiffest challenge" to its global primacy since the fall of the Soviet Union:
"How Xi interprets (or worse, misinterprets) the outcome of the Ukraine standoff could influence whether and how China tries to reunify with Taiwan, and thus has implications for the security and stability of East Asia....
"The fate of Ukraine has become intimately entangled in this renewed big-power competition.... At stake is the balance of power between the U.S. and Russia in Eastern Europe. The outcome, though, could reverberate well beyond the region, and well into the future, affecting whether American power will remain strong enough to maintain peace and advance democracy -- or whether the world's autocracies will claw back clout that they lost decades ago.
"Leaders such as Putin and Xi may see an opportunity. 'The problem for Biden is that their view is that they should test him at all times, and they are. And he has so far not really passed those tests with any distinction,' Danielle Pletka, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told me. 'This is a very important period.'
"Xi may believe that Taiwan is drifting in a direction harmful to China's national interests, just as Ukraine has strayed ever further from Moscow's orbit. Taiwan's independent-minded president, Tsai Ing-wen, has tried to reduce the economy's reliance on China and strengthen ties to the U.S. and other countries. Washington, too, has sought closer links. Officially, the U.S. still upholds a 'one China" policy and does not formally recognize the Taipei government. But it's not hard to discern why Xi might think otherwise....
"In light of all this, Xi will be scrutinizing the situation in Ukraine for useful intelligence about which tools Biden can and ultimately will employ to pressure Russia to back off, how much he is willing to give up in a potential compromise with Putin, and how effectively the U.S. president works with allies and even his own diplomats. China's leader, in other words, will be looking to measure the level of American resolve....
"Ukraine and Taiwan both show how easily U.S. weakness -- or even the mere perception of weakness -- could unravel the strained networks and alliances that support the American world order and usher in a new era of global conflict and instability.... The Putins and Xis of the world are probing for those weaknesses, watching the results, and calculating their next move."
Analyst Seth Cropsey, in commentary titled "The Two-Headed Fight for Ukraine and Taiwan," wrote that Russia and China are working together to upend the existing world order:
"Although separated by geography, Ukraine and Taiwan occupy similar positions in the Russian and Chinese strategic experience and historical imagination. Capturing each is essential to all other strategic objectives. For Russia, taking Ukraine would secure its hold on the Black Sea and open other pressure points against vulnerable NATO members Romania and Bulgaria. For the Chinese Communist Party, seizing Taiwan would allow the country to break out of the First Island Chain and conduct offensive operations against Japan, the Philippines and even U.S. territories in the Central Pacific.
"Historically, post-Soviet Russia's ruling oligarchy has cultivated intense grievances against independent Ukraine. It is a living reminder that Slavic peoples need not live under one flag. Taiwan is proof that Chinese-speaking peoples are fully capable of governing themselves. The modern Communist Party stems from a brutal revolutionary regime that savaged the Chinese people, murdering millions through its messianic ambitions and sheer incompetence. Only by consuming Taiwan can China confirm its superiority. Given the political capital the Communist Party has invested in subduing Taiwan, it may no longer have a way to de-escalate even if it wanted to.
"The clearest obstacle to Russian and Chinese escalation is Ukraine's and Taiwan's affiliations with the U.S. and its allies....
"Roughly concurrent offensive operations in two hemispheres would overstress American and allied resources.... The U.S. must begin thinking about its strategic challenges globally, not in regional segments. This is a contest for Eurasia -- and thus for the world."
Nearing Midnight: Putin Comes to the Aid of Kazakhstan – Todd Strandberg - https://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
It can be very easy to get Russian troops to come to the aid of your nation. Once you invite them in, it may be difficult to get them to leave. Syria began fighting opposition groups in 2011, and by 2012 the conflict had expanded into a full-fledged civil war. Russia’s military intervention in Syria began in September 2015 after a request by the regime for military aid against rebel groups.
Moscow deployed troops and military equipment to an airbase near Latakia. Since then, it has carried out airstrikes targeting opposition groups. Putin said several times that his troops were only going to be in Syria for a limited time. He even said at one point they were in the process of leaving the country.
The Russian government announced its troops would be deployed to Syria permanently at the end of December 2017. It is estimated that there are 4,000 to 5,000 Russian troops in Syria.
Another nation has turned to Russian troops to help with opposition groups. The trouble started when the government of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev sharply raised fuel prices. Kazakhstan is basically a dictatorship that claims to have free elections.
It’s not even sure if Tokayev is really in charge of the government. Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev ran Kazakhstan for nearly 30 years. He may have stepped down so he can secretly run the nation. According to some opposition groups, he is still the “unofficial leader” and “dictator” of the country.
After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia formed the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which is something of a poor man’s NATO for Eurasia nations. Members are Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Defending the prompt intervention of (CSTO) peacekeeping forces in Kazakhstan, Putin said, “it was necessary to react without delay.” The CSTO will be on the ground “as long as necessary,” but after the mission is accomplished, “of course, the entire contingent will be withdrawn from the country.”
The unrest in Kazakhstan puts Putin into a strong position of being the most powerful force in the region to deal with a “hybrid terrorist attack” by both internal and external forces aimed at overthrowing the government.
Most of the Eurasia nations have a growing problem with radical Islamic groups. Since the average American couldn’t find these nations on a map, western media has largely ignored the problem. ISIS has reconstituted near the borders of Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The degrading security situation in Afghanistan shows that you can’t rely on the West to control radical groups. When Putin comes in, he’ll bring heavy bombers to fix any problems. The Russian military bombed several ISIS-controlled cities in Syria back to the stone age.
About 10 years ago, it was generally believed that we could force Russia to bend a knee by simply applying economic pressure to the Russian economy. In the past few years, Russia has sold all its dollar holdings. It built a financial network that doesn’t need to use the American banking system. Europe has become so heavily dependent on Russian natural gas, Putin can hold the economies of several nations hostage at any time.
Some Bible scholars have identified Gomer as being Germany. I’ve always rejected Germany’s involvement in the Ezekiel 38 & 39 invasion because I couldn’t see how the political landscape could change that would have Germany on Russia’s side.
If Putin called the German Chancellor and demanded they help with an invasion of Israel or he’ll turn off the gas, the answer would be likely no. Germany’s enslavement to Russia would make it more prone to look the other way.
Russia has never been in a better position to play the role of Gog. At one time, Iran regarded the USSR (Russia) as its greatest foe. Now both nations have a good diplomatic relationship. Right now, the only thing lacking is the crazy idea to attack a nation that God promised to supernaturally protect.
“Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you'” (Ezekiel 38:1-6).
Daily Jot: Biden Administration institutionalizing religious tyranny - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
The Biden Administration is practicing both medical and religious tyranny. And you had better take notice. Dozens of federal agencies are gearing up to establish lists and collect information on people who requested medical or religious accommodations to avoid Biden’s unconstitutional COVID vaccine mandate. On October 4, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued guidance to federal agencies regarding collecting information for such accommodations. On January 11, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency published intent in the Federal Register to create the Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia Privacy Act system to track religious exemption requests.
It appears that this “Privacy Act” system is anything but privacy and given that it is tied in with the legal system, there is no doubt that such a list is aimed at future intimidation by the government. The mission of this newly created “Pretrial Services Agency,” as stated in the Federal Register is “to ensure and maintain the safety of all occupants during standard operations and pubic health emergencies or similar health and safety incidents, such as a pandemic, epidemic, natural disasters or national and regional emergency, PSA may develop and institute additional safety measures that require the collection of employee religious exemption information from the federally mandated vaccination requirement.”
This PSA “Employee Religious Exception Request Information System…maintains personal religious information collected in response to religious accommodation requests for religious exception from the federally mandated vaccination requirement in the context of a public health emergency OR SIMILAR HEALTH AND SAFETY INCIDENT (emphasis added), such as a pandemic, epidemic, natural disaster or national or regional emergency; and/or any other lawful collection of employee information or data that is necessary to ensure a safe and healthy environment for individuals who are occupying PSA facilities, attending PSA-sponsored events or otherwise engaged in official business on behalf of the Agency.” Similar language is used by dozens of agencies seeking this authority, many filed on or near the same day.
Agencies with such plans include the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Transportation, and Treasury (IRS), The Heritage Foundation reports: “It now appears that an increasing number of federal agencies are keeping and preserving those individuals’ names, religious information, personally identifying information, and other data stored in lists across multiple government agencies.” Just knowing that you are in a database because of your religious beliefs is a hindrance of religious freedom rights. Moreover, it’s how dictatorships persecute and enslave people of faith. Since then, 41 Republican Congressmen have demanded the plan be withdrawn. Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.” Either we stand or we face the consequences.
See all the agencies seeking to make religious exemption lists:
Daily Devotion: When Questions Go Unanswered - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. —James 4:14
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/when-questions-go-unanswered/ - Listen
Sometimes it’s hard to understand why we have to suffer. It doesn’t seem fair. We wonder, “Why I am going through this when other people aren’t?”
Maybe you’ve thought, “Why am I single when all my friends are married?” or “Why can’t we have children when my friend has five children?” or “Why do I have this horrible illness while all of my friends are healthy?”
One day all of our questions will be answered. One day God will restore in Heaven what we’ve lost in this life. The Bible promises restoration for people who have suffered. Speaking of great men and women of faith, world changers, Hebrews 11:35 says, “They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection” (NLT).
We put all of our focus on this life, but there’s an afterlife, and it will go on forever. This life on Earth, even if it’s long, is relatively short. James 4:14 says, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (NLT). And then comes the afterlife.
Are you ready for it? If you died today, would you go to Heaven?
Living a good life isn’t going to get you to Heaven, because Heaven is not for good people; it’s for forgiven people. I’m not going to get to Heaven because I’m a preacher. Rather, it’s because I’ve put my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord who died on the cross for me. Have you done that?
Being a Christian is having Jesus Christ come and take residence in your heart. The Bible says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12 NKJV). Have you received Christ?
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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