A Big Explosion - By Daymond Duck - https://www.raptureready.com/2023/12/23/a-big-explosion-by-daymond-duck/
On Dec. 6, 2023, UN Sec. Gen. Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, which allows him to ask the UN Security Council to restore the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas because the war is threatening “peace and security” on earth.
On Dec. 8, 2023, officials from Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia visited Washington to urge U.S. support for a ceasefire when it came up for a vote in the UN Security Council.
When the issue came up for a vote later that day, the U.S. vetoed it.
Iran’s Foreign Minister responded by warning that America’s veto could lead to an uncontrollable explosion in the Middle East.
He said a big explosion could be coming with Lebanon and Yemen (Hezbollah and the Houthis) already involved and more countries poised to join.
Some might say his warning is about wars and rumors of wars, and Bible prophecy teachers may be thinking of Psalm 83, Isaiah. 17, Ezekiel 38-39, etc.
Is a big explosion coming?
The answer is the Bible teaches that there will be several big explosions in the latter days and latter years (before and during the Tribulation Period).
Is that shaping up?
The best answer may be that it sure looks like it.
More: On Dec. 20, 2023, an Israeli spokesperson said:
Here are some reports on events that could relate to Bible prophecy.
One, concerning Muslim violence in the last days: a Dec. 11, 2023, report shows the following events in the West Bank of Israel since the Israeli-Hamas war began on Oct. 7, 2023 (in about 9 ½ weeks):
In addition to this, 15 members of Israel’s security forces were injured when they tried to arrest the Muslim attackers.
Despite these facts, the U.S., UK, UN, and others criticize Israelis for their treatment of the Muslims on the West Bank.
(More: On Dec. 15, 2023, Hamas fired several rockets toward Jerusalem that were intercepted by Iron Dome defensive missiles. Video footage shows that one of the rockets nearly landed on the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount.)
Two, concerning corruption in Washington and the decline of America: on Dec. 13, 2023, the U.S. House of Representatives voted along party lines to formalize an impeachment inquiry into why China, Russia, Ukraine, and others were sending millions of dollars to the Biden family.
The Bidens and most Democrats say they have done nothing wrong, but Hunter has defied a legal Congressional subpoena to testify in private, the U.S. Dept. of Justice has urged witnesses to refuse to appear for questioning, Pres. Biden has refused to turn over many of the documents Congress has requested, etc.
If the Bidens have done nothing wrong, why are they hindering the investigation?
(My opinion: There is something rotten in the White House.)
(More: The Bidens and many Democrats constantly charge that the wealthy do not pay their fair share of taxes. At least two members of Pres. Biden’s immediate family, his son Hunter and his daughter Ashley, are in trouble with the law right now for not paying their taxes.)
Three, according to the Bible, God told Abraham He will bless those that bless Israel and curse those that curse Israel (Gen. 12:3).
Concerning Israel’s war with Hamas: on Dec. 12, 2023, a 53-year-old politician told Turkey’s parliament, “Israel will not escape the wrath of Allah.”
He barely got the words out of his mouth before he collapsed and was taken to the hospital, where his condition was diagnosed as “extremely critical and serious.”
(More: On Dec. 15, 2023, it was reported that he died.)
(My opinion: I do not know, but I wonder if Jehovah was warning Turkey to leave Israel alone. This I do know: Turkey’s military will be destroyed when it attacks Israel in the Battle of Gog and Magog, and when the Antichrist confirms a covenant with many for peace in the Middle East, world leaders will declare peace and safety; “then sudden destruction will come upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (Ezek. 38, I Thess. 5:3). Perhaps, other world leaders should be careful about criticizing Israel for defending itself.)
Four, concerning world government: I recently referred to the UN as the United Nothing.
In 2006, the UN passed Resolution 1701, which established a demilitarized zone between the Blue Line and the Litani River in Lebanon.
It allows Lebanon to have troops between the Litani River and Israel’s border, but it forbids any other group to have armed troops in that area.
Hezbollah has constantly ignored it, and the UN has never done anything about it.
On Dec. 11, 2023, Israel told the U.S. that Israel can no longer accept the UN doing nothing about Hezbollah troops in the demilitarized zone.
An Israeli official said if Hezbollah does not get out of the demilitarized zone and go back to the other side of the Litani River, Israel will go to war with Hezbollah when its war with Hamas is over.
Netanyahu said, “First of all, we will win in the south, and then we will deal with the north. As a first step, we will push Hezbollah beyond the Litani River, and later, we will also have to take care of the organization itself.”
(My opinion: Israel told world leaders they can avoid another war by enforcing UN Resolution 1701, but doing nothing means there will be another war after Israel takes care of Hamas. I cannot predict what will happen, but it is important to remember that Hezbollah has troops in Syria, and Hezbollah is financed by Iran. A war with Hezbollah could very well lead to the destruction of Damascus and to the Battle of Gog and Magog soon after the Israeli-Hamas war is over.)
Five, concerning a statue of the Antichrist that can talk and order everyone on earth to take the Mark of the Beast or be killed during the Tribulation Period (Rev. 13:14-17): on Dec. 16, 2023, it was reported that CNN will launch the first-ever known AI generated TV news network in the U.S. next year (in 2024).
CNN Channel 1 will be a digital version of CNN that will use avatars (statues that look like people) to report the news instead of human news anchors.
Viewers will need to download an app to watch the news on their TV or mobile phone.
AI reporters will join preachers who are using AI to write and preach sermons and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) who are using AI to rewrite Bible stories.
The lost are running out of time to be saved before the False Prophet builds an AI statue of the Antichrist.
Six, concerning the Mark of the Beast and the tracking of all buying and selling at the middle of the Tribulation Period: on Dec. 17, 2023, it was reported that multi-billionaire Bill Gates has launched an effort to require the citizens in 50 nations to have a digital ID, make digital payments that can be tracked and shared, and be in a social credit score system by 2028 or be excluded from society.
Gates’ effort is called the 50-in-5 campaign (50 nations in the next 5 years).
The World Health Organization (WHO) wants to link citizen’s healthcare records to a system like this, force people to be vaccinated, etc.
Pre-Trib Rapture prophecy teachers believe the Rapture will happen at least 3 ½ years before this kind of system goes global under the Antichrist and False Prophet.
(More: According to the same report, Russian Pres. Putin and his associates believe Klaus Schwab and his closest advisors are legitimate military targets because they are trying to seize power over everyone on earth. My opinion: It is a good point. If Trump can be prosecuted for illegally trying to seize power in the U.S., why cannot Schwab, Gates, and others be prosecuted for illegally trying to seize power in the U.S. and the rest of the world.)
Seven, concerning corruption in Washington and the decline of America: a little more than one week ago, on Dec. 10, 2023, it was reported that Iranian-backed terrorists have attacked U.S. troops in Syria and Iraq 92 times since the Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7, 2023.
On Dec. 15, 2023, it was reported that officials in the Biden administration have acknowledged that the Biden administration recently released billions of dollars of frozen Iranian funds and Iran has made two transactions with those funds.
The fact that Iranian-backed terrorists are attacking U.S. troops in Syria and Iraq and Biden has allowed Iran access to billions of dollars is good reason to question his mental state.)
Eight, concerning a falling away and a departing from the faith in the Church and the coming one-world false religion at the end of the age: on Dec. 18, 2023, Pope Francis released a document that allows Roman Catholic clergy to bless same-sex couples.
Francis is clearly ignoring the Scriptures and traditional Roman Catholic teachings, but none of that seems to matter to him (I Cor. 5:9-13; 6:9-11).
Some in the LGBTQ community are responding favorably, but some in the Roman Catholic Church are extremely disappointed with Pope Francis.
Nine, concerning an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters at the end of the age: a 6.2 earthquake in China on Dec. 18, 2023, killed 127 people, injured more than 700, dozens are missing, and property damage is extensive.
(More: Also on Dec. 18, 2023, it was reported that some districts in southern India had received 37 inches of rain in the last 24 hours. Heavy rain this time of the year is not unusual, but 37 inches in 24 hours is unheard of, and the damage is extensive.)
Ten, concerning the decline of America and world government, some of the goals of the Biden administration are:
(More: On Dec. 19, 2023, Natural News posted the following: “Earlier in December, Sheriff Mark Lamb of Pinal County, Arizona, dropped a ‘truth bomb’ on a YouTube video post, revealing that individuals crossing the border illegally in Arizona are promptly awarded a $5,000 gift card upon entering the United States, along with cell phones and costly plane tickets, all of which are being paid for by the American taxpayers.”)
(My opinion: It is my understanding that Biden is seeking a way to convince voters that these are good policies, not bad policies that need to be corrected. If the voters do not wake up, many aspects of their lives are going to rapidly get worse. The Rapture will remove the saved before the worst hits, but those that are left behind will probably not survive what is coming (Matt. 24:22). We do not know the day or the hour, but we can know when it is getting close (Matt. 24:36, Luke 21:28, Heb. 10:25.))
Eleven, concerning deceit and a population reduction on earth at the end of the age: on Dec. 12, 2023, it was reported that several former officials in the Italian government are under investigation for murder because their e-mails show that they knew the Covid-19 vaccinations were killing citizens, but they ordered health officials to tell people they were safe and to give them to citizens anyway.
Here is a daily update on the Israel-Hamas war.
Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023 (Day 69): The fourteenth day of the resumed war.
Friday, Dec. 15, 2023 (Day 70): The fifteenth day of the resumed war.
Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023 (Day 71): The sixteenth day of the resumed war.
Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023 (Day 72): The seventeenth day of the resumed war.
Monday, Dec. 18, 2023 (Day 73): The eighteenth day of the resumed war.
Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023 (Day 74): The nineteenth day of the resumed war.
Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023 (Day 75): The twentieth day of the resumed war.
FYI: God does not send anyone to Hell (all of us are born with a sin nature and destined to go to Hell because we sin), but God has provided a way (Jesus) for everyone to go to Heaven (and He is the only way to get there; John 14:6).
Finally, are you Rapture Ready?
If you want to be rapture ready and go to heaven, you must be born again (John 3:3). God loves you, and if you have not done so, sincerely admit that you are a sinner; believe that Jesus is the virgin-born, sinless Son of God who died for the sins of the world, was buried, and raised from the dead; ask Him to forgive your sins, cleanse you, come into your heart and be your Saviour; then tell someone that you have done this.
2024 Will Be A Year Of Catastrophic War In The Middle East - by Michael Snyder - https://endoftheamericandream.com/2024-will-be-a-year-of-catastrophic-war-in-the-middle-east/
The war in the Middle East that began in 2023 is going to go to an entirely new level in 2024. As you will see below, fighting along Israel’s northern border has escalated significantly in recent days, and this is causing a great deal of concern. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly stated that he plans to finish the conflict in the south before dealing with Hezbollah, but he may not have a choice in the matter. Hezbollah forces continue to fire at targets in northern Israel and the IDF continues to carry out strikes in response. In fact, it is being reported that the IDF just attacked “a Hezbollah military headquarters in Lebanon”…
The IDF says fighter jets have hit a Hezbollah military headquarters in Lebanon in response to attacks on northern Israel today, including one that left a soldier moderately wounded.
The IDF also says it carried out artillery shelling at a number of areas near the border today, presumably to foil planned Hezbollah attacks.
Several projectiles were fired from Lebanon at areas in northern Israel, with the IDF saying it struck the launch sites.
Meanwhile, we are being told that an IDF airstrike on Damascus has killed a senior Iranian military commander…
A senior officer in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in the Syrian capital of Damascus, Iranian media reports.
Razi Mousavi “was killed during an attack by the Zionist regime a few hours ago in Zeinabiyah district in the suburbs of Damascus,” the official IRNA news agency reports, using a different name for Sayeda Zeinab, or Sitt Zaynab as it is more commonly called, south of the Syrian capital.
The Iranians are absolutely furious about this.
We are much closer to a point of no return than most people realize.
Even before this military commander was killed, the Iranians had become a lot more active.
On Saturday, the U.S. blamed the Iranians for “a drone attack on a chemical tanker in the Indian Ocean”…
The US has accused Iran of being behind a drone attack on a chemical tanker in the Indian Ocean.
The attack on the Chem Pluto on Saturday resulted in a fire, though no casualties were reported.
Though Iran has not commented on the attack, the US military said the ‘one-way attack’ was delivered by a ‘drone fired from Iran.’
Subsequently, the Iranians actually threatened to shut down the entire Mediterranean Sea…
Iran threatened Saturday that the Mediterranean Sea could be “closed” if the U.S. and Israel continued “crimes” in Gaza, state media reported, according to Reuters.
The Iranian government has showed support for the militant group Hamas in its war against Israel, while the U.S. has strongly backed Israel — despite growing criticism of the Israeli military’s war effort.
Of course the Israelis have no intention of ending their campaign in Gaza.
According to the Wall Street Journal, it may take “months” for the IDF to finish their work in the south…
The Israeli military says it could take months to assert control over a key city in southern Gaza, as Hamas guerrilla tactics are causing casualties to mount among Israeli troops.
At least 16 Israeli soldiers were killed across Gaza over the past three days, as the military is now focusing on killing Hamas’s leaders and dismantling its extensive tunnel network.
Once the war in the south is finished, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the IDF will push Hezbollah north of the Litani River.
Hezbollah will never pull back to the Litani River willingly, and so a catastrophic conflict between Israel and Hezbollah is coming.
It is just a matter of time.
But even if Hamas and Hezbollah could be completely wiped out, the truth is that the threat of radical Islam would not go away.
Thanks to our very foolish politicians, millions of Muslims have been brought into the U.S. in recent years, and some of them are extremely radical.
For example, a jihadist that is located in Michigan is calling for a global jihad against the “infidel West”…
Ahmad Musa Jibril, a Michigan Islamist preacher, has called on American Muslims to wage Jihad against the “infidel West” and declared Muslims in the US should start “normalizing” Jihad.
An X account associated with the radical imam shared several clips, including one that labels Joe Biden a “terrorist” for his administration’s policy toward Israel.
“You have seen that senile Pharaoh of our time, he has lost his mind of everything, except his loyalty and support for Jewish occupiers is more to blame for the genocide in Palestine that the occupying Jews.”
“Yes, there is holy war in Islam, it is Jihad. This may be a surprise to many who grew up in the West, especially those who were born or grew up post 9/11, because of the growing number of hypocrites, who are spreading the American-Zionist Islam, and it has nothing to do with Islam, that version of Islam is and Islam that suits the enemies.”
“If you can’t raise your child telling him you want him to be mujahid and martyr, then you are the root of the problem.”
Sadly, he is far from alone.
In fact, radical Muslims have essentially taken over significant portions of the state of Michigan at this point.
And in New York City, a prominent Jewish rabbi was just told to kill himself by a group of radical Muslims that included an 11-year-old girl…
A Muslim family aggressively accosted a prominent Rabbi in New York City’s Times Square, telling him to kill himself if he has a problem with a free Palestine.
The widely viewed video captured the family’s smirking demeanor as a young girl, claiming to be 11 years old and from Canada, delivers the disturbing message.
‘If you have a problem with free Palestine, kill yourself,’ she said to the man on camera. ‘Yeah, go ahead .. you can’t do anything about it because I live in Canada.’
‘You want me to kill myself because I am Jewish? You want Jews to die?’ Rabbi Shmuley Boteach asked. The girl replied, ‘Yes – go ahead.’
They are literally teaching their kids that anyone that does not submit to Islam needs to be wiped out.
According to Google, there are currently 1.8 billion Muslims in the world.
That is almost a quarter of the entire global population.
Needless to say, they are going to play a major role in the period of unprecedented chaos that is coming to our planet.
So this war in the Middle East will not be the end of the story.
Instead, it will be just the beginning…
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Is a War Between the United States and China Inevitable? - by Michael Snyder - https://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/this-is-why-a-war-between-the-united-states-and-china-is-inevitable/
One of the biggest bombshells of the entire year just dropped, but now it has almost entirely disappeared from the news cycle. NBC News is reporting that during their recent summit meeting in San Francisco, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Joe Biden to his face that a decision has been made to “reunify Taiwan with China” one way or the other. Normally the Chinese keep their cards very close to the vest, and so this was a very unusual move. My guess is that the Chinese wanted to see how Biden would respond to such a direct statement. Xi Jinping expressed his desire to take over Taiwan peacefully if possible, but we all know that isn’t going to happen. So war is coming, and the only thing that needs to be decided now is the timing…
Chinese President Xi Jinping bluntly told President Joe Biden during their recent summit in San Francisco that Beijing will reunify Taiwan with mainland China but that the timing has not yet been decided, according to three current and former U.S. officials.
Xi told Biden in a group meeting attended by a dozen American and Chinese officials that China’s preference is to take Taiwan peacefully, not by force, the officials said.
The Chinese leader also referenced public predictions by U.S. military leaders who say that Xi plans to take Taiwan in 2025 or 2027, telling Biden that they were wrong because he has not set a time frame, according to the two current and one former official briefed on the meeting.
I kind of expected the White House to deny that this exchange took place, but that did not happen…
The White House didn’t deny the exchange, which occurred during a Nov. 15 summit outside San Francisco that was attended by a dozen US and Chinese officials.
“I’m not gonna get into the specifics of the discussion between the two leaders,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Air Force One en route to Milwaukee.
So why isn’t everyone in America talking about this?
Why has this almost entirely disappeared from the news cycle already?
This is one of the biggest stories of the year.
War with China is coming, and the Chinese have been feverishly preparing for it.
For example, the Chinese just imposed export controls on rare earth processing technology…
Following the meeting between President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation event in San Francisco last month, the hopes for de-escalation in Sino-US relations seem to have fallen apart after China announced export controls on rare-earths technologies.
China is the world’s top processor of rare earths and has placed an export ban on technology to extract and separate rare-earth metals, according to Bloomberg, citing a document from the Ministry of Commerce.
The move comes as Washington and its allies try to reduce reliance on China’s stranglehold of the global rare earths market. There are 17 rare earth metals, and Beijing controls about 85% of the global refining capacity. These metals are found in everything from electric vehicles to wind turbines to military hardware.
Expect to see more dramatic economic moves by the Chinese in the months ahead.
China has also been working on a whole host of new weapons systems.
Reportedly, this also includes weapons that employ “advanced brain warfare technology”…
China is working on advanced brain warfare technology which is said to include devices that can send enemies to sleep and control their thoughts, according to an uncovered report.
Researchers have found two recent studies by China’s People’s Liberation Army that show the military is increasing its ‘hard power’ weapons with new technology to win wars without conventional weapons.
The biological weapons are designed to induce sleep, impair cognition and alertness as well as impact decision making, The Washington Times reports.
In addition, Chinese hackers have been feverishly hacking into “critical U.S. infrastructure” in anticipation of the coming conflict…
President Joe Biden’s administration warned that Chinese hackers have been positioning themselves inside critical U.S. infrastructure to cause “societal chaos” from within should war break out.
According to reports, the Communist Party of China’s military has burrowed into more than 20 major utilities suppliers in the last year including a water utility in Hawaii, a major West Coast port and at least one oil and gas pipeline. They reportedly also bypassed elaborate cyber security systems by intercepting passwords and log-ins unguarded by junior employees.
This project they are conducting amid growing tension over Taiwan was codenamed Volt Typhoon. Analysts commented this could unplug U.S. efforts to protect its interests in the South China Sea. “It is very clear that Chinese attempts to compromise critical infrastructure are in part to pre-position themselves to be able to disrupt or destroy that critical infrastructure in the event of a conflict,” said Brandon Wales of the Department of Homeland Security‘s (DHS’) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
Meanwhile, it appears that the war in the Middle East could soon go to the next level.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the “buffer zone has moved south of the border, and the IDF faces daily mortar attacks from Hezbollah.”
And Newsweek is telling us that “Israel has edged closer to an all-out war with the Lebanese Hezbollah movement”…
Israel has edged closer to an all-out war with the Lebanese Hezbollah movement amid a worsening round of hostilities playing out as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is already engaged in its most intensive conflict to date in the Gaza Strip, an IDF official has said.
IDF spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters Monday that Hezbollah has fired “more than 1,000 different types of ammunition, rockets, missiles, drones, mortars and others toward Israel” since October 8, the day after the Palestinian Hamas movement led an unprecedented surprise attack against Israel from Gaza.
Conricus warned that “Hezbollah, who as everybody knows is a proxy of Iran, is dangerously dragging Lebanon into an unnecessary war that could have potential devastating consequences for the state of Lebanon and for the people of Lebanon.
Even though I have not been writing about the war in the Middle East much recently, it is just a matter of time before it absolutely explodes.
The Israeli government has decided to push Hezbollah beyond the Litani River, and Hezbollah will not ever allow that to happen willingly…
Israel is planning to invade Lebanon to push Hezbollah back from its northern border, according to reports, amid a barrage of rocket attacks since the war in Gaza broke out and fears that the terror group is ‘worse than Hamas’.
After weeks of exchanging cross-border fire, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) are said to be keen to launch a ground offensive into southern Lebanon which would aim to push the terror group north past the Litani River.
Elsewhere, the Russians are attacking on “six fronts” in Ukraine, and Kim Jong Un just threatened the United States with nuclear war…
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned Pyongyang will not hesitate to launch a nuclear attack on the US if ‘provoked with nukes’, state media said Thursday.
Kim’s warning follows a meeting between South Korea and the United States last week in Washington, where they discussed nuclear deterrence in the event of conflict with the North.
Without a doubt, we are living at a time of wars and rumors of wars, and I fully expect 2024 to be a year of war.
So I would encourage all of you to get prepared for the chaos that is ahead, because global events will soon spiral completely out of control.
World's Most Dangerous Combination: China and Russia - by Gordon G. Chang - https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/20257/china-russia-dangerous-combination
Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy knows how to end the greatest threat to American national security. That threat would be the combination of the world's two most dangerous states: China and Russia.
"I would freeze the current lines of control," the candidate told Fox News's Jesse Watters during his prime time show, referring to the battlefields in Ukraine. "I would further make a hard commitment that NATO will not admit Ukraine to NATO. That's enough to get Putin to do the deal."
"But I would require something even greater in return, Jesse," Ramaswamy said. "Russia has to exit its military alliance with China."
Putin will take the deal, the charismatic candidate assured Watters: "He's gonna say, 'Ok' because I'm going to say, 'We'll reopen our economic relations with Russia and further, we'll end the Ukraine war and also make sure NATO never admits Ukraine.' "
The interview occurred in late August, but these themes are often heard, in America and elsewhere. Is Ramaswamy on the right track?
In theory, it should be possible to separate Moscow from Beijing. After all, China and Russia have for centuries been competitors, adversaries, and even enemies. Take something as fundamental as their common border. After border skirmishes, they finally settled the boundary only in 2008, when Moscow formally transferred various parcels to China.
Vladimir Putin knows, however, that no border is ever finally fixed, and Chinese migrants are pouring into the sparsely populated Russian Far East. There, many of them hope to "retake" lands ceded by the Qing dynasty to Moscow in the 1850s and 1860s in what Chinese officials now call "unequal treaties." Beijing has made no formal claim to Vladivostok and surrounding areas, but it has been continually pushing the idea nonetheless.
In short, China poses the greatest threat to Russia, at least over the long term.
The Ramaswamy proposal, however, ignores the reality that as long as Putin and Xi Jinping rule, there is no realistic possibility of breaking up the two states. Both dictators view the world in similar terms; believe that their short-term interests coincide; and identify the same adversary, the United States of America. As Xi said on December 20 as he welcomed Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to Beijing, "Maintaining and developing China-Russia relations well is a strategic choice made by both sides based on the fundamental interests of the two peoples."
The two regimes, Xi's words reveal, have been on the same page for some time. They declared their closeness with the 5,300-word joint statement issued after Putin met Xi in Beijing on February 4 of last year, just 20 days before Russia's attack on Ukraine. That is when they declared their "no-limits" partnership.
China and Russia are more than just working together. They are forming the core of a new axis. Around this core are proxies and proxies of proxies, such as Iran, North Korea, Algeria, and a host of terrorist groups.
The Chinese and Russian leaders are forming this grouping because they believe the United States, the final guarantor of the international system that frustrates them both, must be taken down. Xi, by, among other things, declaring a "people's war" on America, has made it clear that the U.S. must be destroyed and Americans exterminated. Putin is less ambitious, only wanting the U.S. out of his way as he recreates the Russian Empire at its greatest extent.
Moreover, Xi and Putin believe that the United States is in terminal decline. "Change is coming that hasn't happened in 100 years," the Chinese dictator said on March 22 to the Russian dictator in Moscow while bidding farewell after their 40th in-person meeting. "And we are driving this change together."
Even if Xi and Putin were not so confident there are reasons for the Russian leader to reject the overtures of a President Ramaswamy. "Washington has little leverage over Russia," Rebekah Koffler, the author of Putin's Playbook and former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, told Gatestone. "There are no carrots to offer to Putin, and the sticks haven't worked."
Yes, the Biden administration could drop sanctions and abandon Ukraine, but even those actions, which would be deeply injurious to the U.S. and the international system, would not be enough to break Putin's bond with Beijing. "Russia does not trust the U.S. and Europe," Koffler says. "Russia believes the West will continue to try to weaken it economically and militarily. Moscow believes that regardless of who occupies the White House, a Democrat or a Republican, the U.S. will pursue an anti-Russia policy."
Democrats and Republicans should pursue "anti-Russia" policies: Russia has refused to abide by the rules and norms of the international system. Russia is not only an aggressor state, but it is also engaging in barbaric acts in Ukraine, some of which constitute "genocide" as defined in Article II of the 1948 Genocide Convention.
Ramaswamy says "we have wrongfully cut off Russia from the West." It is true that Americans and Western actions, as Koffler remarked, "hit the key revenue drivers of the Russian economy," but how could any nation allow Putin to, among other things, use its banks and financial system while his soldiers were torturing, raping, and killing Ukrainian women and children; committing acts of mass murder in town after town; and abducting hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia in an apparent attempt to eliminate Ukrainian identity?
To finance acts of aggression and barbarism in the face of sanctions, Putin has found support from China. By November, China-Russia trade hit $218.2 billion in 2023, exceeding their announced target of $200 billion by the end of 2024. Trade during the first 11 months of 2023 was double the volume in 2018 of $108.3 billion, which itself represented an increase of 24.5% over 2017. Putin will not break this established and fast-growing trade relationship for mere promises from a West he neither likes nor trusts.
China does not, as Ramaswamy tells us, have a "military alliance" with Russia—China has no formal alliances except the one with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea—but the Chinese and Russian militaries are nonetheless close.
The two forces are worrying the commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral John Aquilino. This month in Tokyo, he publicly stated that he was "very concerned" about their joint exercises: "I view it as far beyond the marriage of convenience at this point in time."
In other words, China and Russia are preparing to go to war together. As no country threatens either of them, they are undoubtedly thinking of perpetrating more acts of aggression.
Would Putin join Xi if China were to invade some neighbor? That is not clear, but it is highly likely that the Russian leader will help China. "Russia could conduct shows of force to stretch U.S. and allied surveillance," Rebecca Grant of defense consultant IRIS Independent Research told Gatestone. "Posturing military moves by Russia could also make U.S. leadership balk." She points out there could be, for instance, Russian bomber flights or even nuclear weapons exercises.
Russia could also help China by trying to grab even more of the Kuril Islands chain from Japan or moving against a NATO member, such as one of the three Baltic republics, engulfing the Eurasian landmass in conflict, from one end to the other.
Daily Jot: Brace yourself—Caesar shall become more oppressive in 2024 - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
Despite Congress and the Biden Administration’s brag about not raising taxes, come 2024 your taxes are being significantly raised due to the expiration of the Trump-era tax cuts. In fact, the standard deduction of $26,000 for married couples filing jointly will be cut in half—that’s $13,000 married couples will lose to the government right off the top. Americans are faced with record inflation eating away at household incomes largely because of Biden Administration economic policies—the cost of food and fuel at levels never before experienced by this generation. Many Americans are suffering from the squeeze between their expendable income and an increase in the cost of items consumed.
In addition to the economic pressures, tax breaks that eased financial burden are going away. The Hartford’s Gene Marks explains, “A lot of these changes have to do with the 2017 Tax Act, that was passed under the Trump administration. That tax act had a lot of provisions and benefits for individuals and small businesses, and a lot of the provisions of that tax act are starting to expire. So now, let me explain what I mean. At the end of 2025, individual tax rates are gonna go back to the 2017 levels with the top tax rate going up to close to 39%…the bottom line is, is that taxes take a huge bite of your income, and there are significant changes coming to taxes over the next couple of years, and you need to be aware and take action now.” This is due to Congress not renewing the Trump tax breaks and the IRS increasing its enforcement.
Bankrate Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride says there is great pessimism among Americans regarding their financial future. McBride stated on Bankrate.com, “A staggering 61 percent of those not expecting their financial situation to improve point to continued high inflation as a culprit–nearly twice that of any other reason. Of the 37 percent of households expecting improved finances in the new year, higher income, better spending habits and less debt are the most common explanations for their optimism.” Anna N’Jie-Konte, president and director of financial planning for Re-Envision Wealth, agrees: “High interest rates, widespread layoffs and staggering inflation at the grocery store are all real pressures folks currently feel. There is no relief in sight; therefore, it’s not hard to understand why Americans are pessimistic about their personal financial prospects.”
According to a recent CBS News poll, “Inflation’s impact may even go beyond the immediate pressure on Americans’ pocketbooks, to a larger sense that it is stifling opportunity in America and the deeper sense that the nation’s economic troubles of recent years have been, as a whole, tougher than others it has faced in generations.” Piling on with another tax increase while politicians are saying there are no tax increases, just adds to the financial burden suffered by most Americans. Christ said in Mark 12:17, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Caesar is oppressive in all things, but in G-d there is perfect freedom. Lean in to the Lord, stand fast, and seek first the kingdom of G-d.
Daily Devotion: Authentic Friendship - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. —Proverbs 27:6
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/authentic-friendship/ - Listen
One trait of friendship with people and with God is that true friends will tell each other the truth. That’s a mark of friendship.
When you’re uncomfortable with someone, when you don’t know them that well, you don’t really want to say what you’re thinking. Maybe you just bought a new outfit that you’re not sure about. So, you say to your friend, “Hey, what do you think?”
Someone who doesn’t really care about you will say, “It looks great! Now let’s go!”
But a true friend will say, “Honestly, you look like a fool. You need to return that.”
The Bible says, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6 NLT).
An enemy will flatter you and tell you to your face that you’re great and that everything is wonderful. But behind your back, the same person will cut you down.
As Oscar Wilde said, “A true friend always stabs you in the front.”
True friends will say, “Because I love you, because I care about you, I must share this with you. I think you’re making a mistake. I don’t think you should do this.” Because your friends care about you, they will tell you the truth.
That is why we want to look for godly friends. You cannot control your environment at all times. You cannot always control who your neighbors will be or who your coworkers will be. But you can decide who your friends will be.
We must give serious consideration to the people we spend our free time with, the people we bare our hearts to. It’s important to look for others who love God and will encourage us spiritually.
The apostle Paul warned, “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NLT). You will be influenced by the people you hang around. And they will be influenced by you.
Paul also wrote, “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts” (2 Timothy 2:22 NLT).
Look for friends who love the Lord. Look for people who will encourage you in your commitment to Christ. And if you’re presently engaged in a friendship, or even worse, in a romantic entanglement, that is dragging you down spiritually and is detrimental to your walk with God, then it’s time to sever it.
Look for people who will encourage you in the things of the Lord. And be a person who will encourage others in the things of the Lord as well.
Sadly, people will disappoint. People will let us down. But we have a friend who never will betray our confidence. We have a friend to whom we can bare our secrets and who also will declare His secrets to us. We have the ultimate friend in Jesus Christ.
Yes, He wants to be your God. Yes, He wants to be your Savior and Lord. But don’t forget that He also wants to be your friend.
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