As the blurb under the headline of a Financial Times piece by noted columnist Philip Stephens stated, "Pressures for conflict in a more disordered world are there for all to see" ("Riches and Risk: Welcome to the World of Tomorrow," Jan. 9, 2014).
Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Gaza, South Sudan, Thailand and North Korea are all global flashpoints—along with island tensions between China and Japan.
Take the Ukrainian situation, for instance. Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to recreate at least some semblance of the old Soviet Union, thereby restoring Russia to superpower status. Another editorial in The Wall Street Journal said that "Russia's Vladimir Putin has stoked this crisis from the first and isn't about to let up. The Russian strongman has put $15 billion in aid and billions more in cheap energy on the table to make Ukraine . . . part of a new Greater Russia" ("America and Ukraine," Jan. 27).
Late last year Putin pressured Ukraine into jettisoning an EU "association treaty." This strategic move produced massive protests in the capital city of Kiev, soon countered by repressive new laws fomenting further protests spreading even beyond Kiev to eastern provinces. At this writing the government appears to have backed off somewhat, but "no solution to the current impasse can satisfy both the Ukrainian protestors . . . and a Russian state that aspires to re-establish its regional hegemony" (James Sherr, "Putin's Imperial Project Threatens European Values," Financial Times, Jan. 27, 2014). A divided European Union has been of little or no help to Ukraine.
The Journal article quoted up front about the global conflicts scorecard concluded that "the U.S. once would have led the world in defusing these conflicts, or at least trying to defuse their harm. But President Obama has disavowed any Pax Americana"—the maintenance of peace within the reach of U.S. power (likened to that of the ancient Roman Empire).
Philip Stephens commented in his Financial Times piece: "There is nothing to replace the Pax Americana. Instead the neat symmetry of the cold war [between the two superpowers America and the Soviet Union] and the brief interlude of unipolarity [that is, America as the sole superpower] are being replaced by a fragmented mosaic of global power."
While Bible prophecy often focuses on specific peoples and places of the world, as our free booklets about end-time prophecy point out, God also issues prophetic pronouncements on a global scale. Isaiah 34:1-2 is a case in point: "Come near, you nations, to hear; and heed, you people! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world and all things that come forth from it. For the indignation of the Lord is against all nations" (emphasis added throughout).
Why would this be? Isaiah 24:5 explains that it's "because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant." God's way of life has been spurned by all nations, with horrendous consequences for our world as a whole. To understand much more, read the free Bible study aid You Can Understand Bible Prophecy. (Sources: Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal.)