Current Events & Trends: May/June 2021

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Current Events & Trends

May/June 2021

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China pushes to displace America as global leader

Commentator Steve Bannon gave this interesting assessment of China’s geopolitical ambitions on his TV program War Room on April 8, 2021:

“The Chinese . . . are the only power in history that have tried to do all three great theories of geopolitics at the same time. One is Mackinder’s, control the Eurasian landmass [as the ‘world island’] with internal lines of communication.

“The second is the British and . . . the American . . . followed on from Nelson and the Royal Navy, which was, as an island off of there [i.e, off of the main world island], whether the United Kingdom or the island of the Western Hemisphere, you must control the chokepoints. And that’s why you’re at Suez, and that’s why you’re off Djibouti, and that’s why you’re on the Straits of Hormuz, and that’s why you have Singapore. If you notice where the Brits were, whether it’s Hong Kong or it’s Singapore, it’s all near the chokepoints—of the South China Sea, the Straits of Malacca, Hormuz, the Mediterranean at Gibraltar. Every time you look at a chokepoint you’ve got a British colony, got a British naval station there. America, the American Navy, in the Pacific in World War 2 just takes over that . . .

“The third is the Rimland and how to control the rim of the world island and push off any competitor . . . And that’s why the Chinese Communist Party is so focused on pushing the United States out of the South China Sea, pushing it out of Taiwan, back to Guam . . . so you can’t get near the control of this.

“This is the framework, ladies and gentlemen, for the future of the world. The Chinese Communist Party . . . in cahoots with others—the global capital markets of the city of London and in Wall Street, global corporations, the party of Davos—is making a move to become a hegemon to break the superpower, . . . the uni-power, of the United States.”

As noted in the accompanying item below on the recent Suez Canal blockage, Britain and America were given control over many of the world’s land and sea gates through God’s blessings. Sadly, these nations are turning away from God, as brought out in other items on the next page, and are losing these blessings.

Bible prophecy reveals that China will not ultimately dominate the globe as it intends to, though it will be part of a powerful Asian bloc in the end time and may well be used to weaken and even break American power prior to that. The period of American dominance is certainly nearing its end. Greater than China for a time will be a European-centered power bloc, but it will not last long.

Thankfully, all the powers that will yet come forward in a bid for world domination will in the end give way before the truly final power—the returning of Jesus Christ to establish the Kingdom of God throughout the earth. Most international forecasters fail to take this supreme geopolitical factor into account.

 


 

Suez obstruction: the importance of global chokepoints

In late March 2021, the Ever Given, a massive container ship longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall, was the cause of global commerce disruption when it became stuck in the Suez Canal for nearly a week, blocking other shipping traffic.

Analysts made a number of observations about this event. The New York Times pointed to the danger of the world’s overreliance on global supply chains (Peter Goodman, “In Suez Canal, Stuck Ship Is a Warning About Excessive Globalization,” March 26, 2021). The Suez is a “passageway for roughly one-tenth of the world’s trade” (ibid.).

Author Matt Stoller of the Open Markets Institute noted the sheer folly of our thinned-out paths of global commerce, made worse by lading onto such massive cargo ships: “The reason this disruption to global commerce seems so dumb is because it is. It starts with the ship size itself . . . [meant to] carry more at a lower cost . . . The rise of mega-ships is paralleled by the consolidation of the shipping industry” (“What Can We Learn From a Big Boat Stuck in a Canal?” (March 28).

Others noted this incident should alert us to how such blockages could be inflicted by enemies on purpose, as pointed out by Scott Savitz at the Rand Corporation (“The Suez Grounding Was an Accident. The Next Blocked Chokepoint Might Not Be,” DefenseOne, March 30). This tactic of “blockships” has a long history, going back to ancient times. Today, it could not only do severe economic damage, but block U.S. and allied naval forces from going to where they are needed in maritime conflicts.

George Friedman of Geopolitical Futures notes that he has “often written about chokepoints—those narrow passageways, on land or at sea, that are essential for the movement of goods and people—in the context of waging war . . . On the whole, maritime checkpoints tend to be more significant than their terrestrial counterparts, especially because of modern economics and warfare, global maritime trade, the dependence of nations on that trade and the increased power of naval forces. In short, chokepoints are central to geopolitical thinking” (“On the Suez Canal and Chokepoints,” March 30).

As we point out in our study guide The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy, these nations have been the recipients of great national blessings promised to the ancient patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants the Israelites. Among these was the possession of the gates of their enemies (Genesis 22:17 Genesis 22:17That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
American King James Version×
; 24:60; compare Nahum 3:13 Nahum 3:13Behold, your people in the middle of you are women: the gates of your land shall be set wide open to your enemies: the fire shall devour your bars.
American King James Version×
). It is no coincidence that Britain and America have possessed and controlled many of the vital land and sea gates in modern history. Be sure to read more about this in the accompanying item above on China’s geopolitical ambitions.

 


 

U.S. church membership plunges

A report on a new Gallup poll states that “Americans’ membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup’s eight-decade trend. In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999. U.S. church membership was 73% when Gallup first measured it in 1937 and remained near 70% for the next six decades, before beginning a steady decline around the turn of the 21st century” (Jeffrey Jones, “U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time,” Gallup, March 29, 2021).

This is in large part due to an increasing number who have no religious preference. The report notes: “Over the past two decades, the percentage of Americans who do not identify with any religion has grown from 8% in 1998-2000 to 13% in 2008-2010 and 21% over the past three years.” Another factor is a drop in formal church membership among those who do have a preference.

And all this corresponds to “population change, with those in older generations who were likely to be church members being replaced in the U.S. adult population with people in younger generations who are less likely to belong” to a church (ibid.). This does not bode well for the future.

Currently “66% of traditionalists—U.S. adults born before 1946—belong to a church, compared with 58% of baby boomers, 50% of those in Generation X and 36% of millennials,” with those of Generation Z starting to reach adulthood showing membership rates similar to those for millennials.

“Still, population replacement doesn’t fully explain the decline in church membership, as adults in the older generations have shown roughly double-digit decreases from two decades ago. Church membership is down even more, 15 points, in the past decade among millennials” (ibid.). Evidently all age groups are becoming less religious.

The report further notes that “the U.S. remains a religious nation, with more than seven in 10 affiliating with some type of organized religion. However, far fewer, now less than half, have a formal membership with a specific house of worship. While it is possible that part of the decline seen in 2020 was temporary and related to the coronavirus pandemic, continued decline in future decades seems inevitable, given the much lower levels of religiosity and church membership among younger versus older generations of adults.”

The report concludes: “Churches are only as strong as their membership and are dependent on their members for financial support and service to keep operating . . . While precise numbers of church closures are elusive, a conservative estimate is that thousands of U.S. churches are closing each year.”

What a sad decline in a nation founded on a belief in and reliance on God. Yet this is not surprising. Through the apostle Paul, God warned in 2 Timothy 3:1-4 2 Timothy 3:1-4 [1] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, [3] Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, [4] Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
American King James Version×
that “in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

 


 

Is increasing godlessness a good thing?

A Los Angeles Times op-ed contends that increasing secularization in the United States—with waning religious faith, practice and affiliation—is no cause for concern. Its author, a dean at one of the Claremont Colleges, says, “This increasing godlessness in America is actually a good thing, to be welcomed and embraced” (Phil Zuckerman, “Why America’s Record Godlessness Is Good News for the Nation,” April 2, 2021). The piece argues that lack of religion has only been a problem in abusive dictatorships, maintaining that organic secularization in free and open societies has been liberating for societies.

Of course it then goes on to laud a host of liberal-progressive outcomes and values, such as “women’s reproductive rights [i.e., unrestricted abortion], universal healthcare, gay rights,” among others. It concludes that “the organic secularization we are experiencing in the United States is a progressive force for good, one that is associated with improved human rights, more protections for planet Earth and an increased sociocultural propensity to make this life as fair and just as we can—in the here and now—rather than in a heavenly reward that fewer and fewer of us believe in.”

Such utopian fantasies always lead to more totalitarian outcomes. Sadly, our young people are being taught these false notions in schools more and more. But frankly, this call for a world where man knows best is not at all new. It started in the Garden of Eden, with Satan persuading our first human parents to choose their own way. The truth is that only in seeking God and His ways above all can our needs be sufficiently met (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
American King James Version×
). This is true both individually and nationally—and for the whole world.

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