World News and Trends
Decline of democracy presages the coming of a world dictator
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"Despite an economic renaissance, much of Africa is drifting toward a new age of authoritarianism" (Jason McLure, "Why Democracy Isn't Working in Africa," Newsweek, June 18, 2010). Even leaders in the countries that have recently begun the democratic process have only used it to become elected autocrats.
The Russian leadership fell into this trap some time after the breakup of the Soviet Union. "Vladimir Putin, riding on high approval ratings while Russian president in the early 2000s, stripped regional governors of influence, eviscerated the national parliament and began to neuter influential media" (Joshua Kurlantzick, "Democracy in Danger," Prospect, June 2010).
The Independent reported the onset of new legislation in Russia confirming this trend. The upper house of Moscow's parliament recently passed a bill that "gives Russian security services sweeping powers to question people about crimes that have not yet been committed" (Shaun Walker, "New Russian Law Revives Sweeping KGB Powers," July 20, emphasis added throughout). Russian president Dmitry Medvedev's signature turns the bill into law.
In addition, "Venezuela's Hugo Chavez appears to be deploying similar tactics, using his power to entrench his allies and undermine checks on his presidency—for instance, by revoking the license of the nation's most vocal private television network and those of dozens of radio stations" (Kurlantzick).
Examples could be cited in the opposite direction, but those are notable exceptions to the rule. Newsweek commented, "But backsliders have them outnumbered, a shift that hasn't gone unnoticed in the West" (McLure). Even supposedly fairly well-established democracies have succumbed to the danger, Thailand being a clear case in point.
The European Union (EU) was largely created to both inhibit and prevent warring and dangerous dictatorships from developing again in Europe. The Bible plainly tells us that this carefully contrived human strategy will not work in the long run.
Although one Turkish politician described the EU as "the greatest peace project in the history of mankind," God's Word tells us that a charismatic dictator called "the Beast" is destined to arise and dominate the European scene—controlling the world at large as well. The final book of the Bible warns us of what will happen: "And all the world marveled and followed the beast" (Revelation 13:3). Masses of people will exclaim: "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" (verse 4).
His authority and influence will spread over the whole planet. The apostle John wrote, "And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue [language], and nation" (verse 7). (Sources: The Independent, Prospect [both London], Newsweek.)