"Europeans see the U.S. as a greater threat to global stability than either Iran or China, according to a Harris opinion poll conducted in association with the Financial Times" ("Europeans See US as Threat to Global Security, Says Poll," Financial Times, June 19, 2006).
Three days earlier, columnist Quentin Peel wrote in the same paper, "it is scarcely news these days to report that America's image in the world is sliding... But the latest edition of the excellent Pew Global Attitudes Survey—the seventh since 2001—shows that favorable opinions of the U.S. have fallen again in 12 out of 15 countries polled" ("Old Europe Loses Enthusiasm for US").
Part of the reason for this, as Mr. Peel pointed out, is the continuing war in Iraq, which "is seen by a clear majority in all the countries surveyed, except India and Nigeria, as having made the world more dangerous."
A report in the same newspaper a few days later highlighted the dilemma of the crumbling coalition as countries pull troops out of Iraq to appease public opinion back home.
"The shrinking U.S. 'coalition of the willing' in Iraq has come to resemble more a coalition of the reluctant, as allies weigh up the costs of continued involvement in an unpopular war against the benefits of backing President George W. Bush for the rest of his second term" ("Iraq Gets 'Coalition of the Reluctant' as Allies Retreat," June 20, 2006).
Patrick Buchanan observes, "U.S. foreign policy appears to be disintegrating... On the Horn of Africa, Islamic warriors have seized Mogadishu. The warlords, our allies, are on the run. In Islamist Sudan, the Darfur horror rages on" ("Time for an 'Agonizing Reappraisal,'" The American Conservative, July 3, 2006).
In Egypt, a truly free election could unseat American ally Hosni Mubarak and replace him with the Islamic Muslim Brotherhood. Free elections elsewhere in the Middle East have already brought Islamists into the government in the Palestinian territories, in Lebanon, in Turkey, in Iraq and in Iran—although the latter's election wasn't truly free.
Meanwhile, violence in Afghanistan has increased significantly in recent months. "In Afghanistan, the resurgent Taliban roam half a dozen of the southeast provinces," continues Mr. Buchanan. Coalition forces in conjunction with Afghan military mounted a massive counterattack in the south, beginning in May.
Tension between the United States and Iran has also been increasing as Iran moves seemingly inexorably toward possession of its own nuclear weapons. Public opinion in neighboring countries appears to favor this development, rather than seeing it as a threat.
"In a series of recent polls, Terror Free Tomorrow, a non-partisan group, finds that Iran's Turkish, Saudi and Pakistani neighbors want the United States to accept a nuclear-armed Iran rather than take military action to prevent it. Terror Free Tomorrow said, moreover, that two thirds of Pakistanis, one third of Saudi Arabians, and more than one fifth of Turks actually support a nuclear-armed Iran.
"Ken Ballen, president of TFT, said the results indicate 'the radical Islamist propaganda which portrays the West as the enemy of Islam is gaining dangerous ground'" ("These Folks Want Iran to Get the Bomb," U.S. News and World Report, p. 21, June 26, 2006).
Setbacks to United States in Central Asia
But it's not only in the Islamic world that the United States is faced with increasing hostility. Other countries, former enemies who seemed to be moving favorably toward Washington, are now turning against the United States.
"...U.S. intervention in elections in Ukraine, Georgia, and Belarus and our in-your-face bellicosity toward Putin's Russia are producing the predicted blowback. The decade-old Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO], consisting of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, is evolving into an alliance to expel the United States from Central Asia. The SCO appears about to offer membership to India, Pakistan, Mongolia and Iran" (Buchanan).
Pointedly, Iran's belligerent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was invited to attend the SCO as an observer, while America's request to send an observer was turned down!
Additionally, in the midst of all the above bad news, while attention was frequently focused on Iran's bid to become a nuclear power, North Korea launched several short-range missiles, while attempting to launch its latest three-stage missile, the Taepodong-2, capable of striking a large portion of the U.S. mainland with chemical, biological or nuclear warheads.
While the test on the Taepodong-2 failed, the North Koreans could have learned valuable lessons, which would enable them to move into mass production of the Taepodong-2—they have done so with an earlier type of missile. Only China could stop Pyongyang, but Beijing seems reluctant to rein in North Korea's dictator. This could mean that North Korea's actions fit with China's goals, one of which is to increase Chinese power at the expense of American power.
Are we seeing a confederacy against America?
Among the Old Testament Psalms is one warning of a growing confederacy against Israel. The psalm is a prayer against those who conspire against the nation.
A similar situation is arising today for the United States—increased hostility from nations once considered friends, together with long-standing enemies, sometimes strange bedfellows, but sharing a common desire to see an end to America's global supremacy.
"They have said, 'Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.' For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against You: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; they have helped the children of Lot" (Psalm 83:4-8).
As the psalmist realized three millennia ago, only God can save the situation.
"O my God, make them like the whirling dust, like the chaff before the wind! As the fire burns the woods, and as the flame sets the mountains on fire, so pursue them with Your tempest, and frighten them with Your storm. Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek Your name, O LORD. Let them be confounded and dismayed forever; yes, let them be put to shame and perish, that they may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth" (verses 13-18).
One of the promised blessings for obedience that God made to ancient Israel is that they would be victorious in their battles. "The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways" (Deuteronomy 28:7).
Conversely, disobedience to God's laws would result in defeat. "The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them; and you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the earth" (verse 25).
As the last few words of the verse point out, one consequence of disobedience would be that other nations would not want anything to do with Israel or its modern descendants, which include the United States and Britain.
Faced with a nuclear threat from both Iran and North Korea, two of the three countries President George W. Bush labeled an "axis of evil" in his 2002 State of the Union address (the other being Saddam Hussein's Iraq), most Americans seem oblivious to these growing threats to their security.
During a two-week trip to Ghana, I had followed news of these developments with great interest. When I returned to the United States, I turned to the TV for news on my first day back. The big news that day was the birth of a baby in Namibia to two of Hollywood's big-name celebrities.
Few people are able to see clearly the increasing threats to American security and the country's continued leadership of the Western world. The mainstream media remains more concerned about ratings than in helping the American people to understand the growing threats to their nation.
These threats are continuing to mount. Faced with continuing economic challenges, the relentless spread of Islamic fundamentalism throughout the Middle East, the possibility of future nuclear attacks on their interests and now an alarming and growing confederacy among many of their former friends, Americans need to focus upon reality, rather than on totally unimportant gossipy news stories. WNP