Imagine a World Without the United States

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Imagine a World Without the United States

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"Imagine the unimaginable. The president, in the White House, the vice president, at the National Observatory, and all Cabinet members, in their respective agency headquarters, are killed in a terrorist attack on downtown Washington. So are all members of Congress, except the few who happen to be out of town.

"What happens to the Republic? At the moment, the answer is alarming: chaos."

So begins a sobering and disturbing article in the St. Petersburg Times of Dec. 10, 2001, credited to the Washington Post. Continuing, the unnamed writer added: "The September 11th attacks and subsequent release of anthrax on Capitol Hill have left many lawmakers and constitutional experts concerned that the federal government does not have adequate succession and continuity plans in place to recover from a catastrophic terrorist attack on Washington."

Pause for a moment and consider: What would the world be like without America?

A world without America

The world has not been the same since Sept. 11. The possibility of an even bigger terrorist attack on Washington in the foreseeable future cannot be ruled out. If such an attack were to take place, it is difficult to imagine how the United States could continue to lead the free world. The consequences would be unimaginable-except for the fact that the Bible prophesies such a time.

The biblical book of Revelation reveals that the world will come under the domination of a union of 10 kings (or heads of state) immediately prior to the return of Jesus Christ (Revelation 17:12-14 Revelation 17:12-14 [12] And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. [13] These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to the beast. [14] These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
American King James Version×
). What could precipitate the transfer of dominance from the United States to this group of nations, who "will give their power and authority to the beast"?

Since World War II the United States has been the undisputed leader of the Western world. Before the United States, the British Empire was the world's leading power for two centuries. The United States and Great Britain share similar values. Nobody alive today can remember a time when one of these nations was not the major force in the world. Certainly, neither the United States nor Britain has been a perfect world leader. But it is equally certain that domination by other nations would have made the world a very different place. A look back at fairly recent history well illustrates this fact.

Prior to the supremacy of the English-speaking powers, the major Western player was France, whose King Louis XIV (1643-1715) vainly declared, "I am the state." The concept of the divine right of kings was essential to centralized state power. Prior to France, Spain was dominant. "His Most Catholic Majesty," the king of Spain, saw himself and his country as instruments of God in spreading the faith of the "one true catholic church" to the four corners of the earth. If people did not willingly convert, then there were other means of persuasion.

England and her colonies were to struggle against these forces of despotism for over 250 years, from the time of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603), until the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 when Napoleon's dreams of world conquest were finally totally defeated. A century later there were further attempts at world conquest by Germany's kaiser and later Hitler. Japan was also set on imposing her will on the world. Afterwards, Russian and Chinese communism threatened the peace of the world.

For most of this time, the prophesied "multitude of nations" (Genesis 48:19 Genesis 48:19And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
American King James Version×
) was the force that defended liberty. After Pearl Harbor, that was to change, with the United States taking over from Great Britain as the world's leading military power. However imperfectly, both Britain and America based their political, economic and religious systems on freedom of the individual.

In contrast, most continental European nations historically have not-they have subscribed instead to a variant of Louis XIV's famous dictum, emphasizing strong central government at the expense of individual liberty. In Western Europe this has been tempered since World War II during America's period of supremacy.

A post-Anglo-Saxon world is frightening to contemplate. Whoever takes over as the dominant power will not share the same values as the United States and Britain. Maybe some of those values would remain, but certainly not all. How it might happen is a topic for another article. But, for the moment, imagine the unimaginable-Washington gone. What would happen?

Who would lead the West?

"The West" is an all-encompassing term. The term goes back to the Western Roman Empire. When the military and political empire collapsed in the fifth century, the church became the empire. As historian Paul Johnson put it in his 1972 book The Offshore Islanders: "The Church was the continuation of the empire." He added: "Politics and religion were inseparable."

The Roman Empire was the fourth empire of Daniel's vision. In biblical imagery it was one of the four beasts (Daniel 7:3 Daniel 7:3And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
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, 7). For 12 centuries, from the time of the Emperor Constantine (306-337) when the church became the state church, until the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, the church was a powerful force in the history of the "West."

During the Protestant Reformation, England broke with the church. Theoretically, it was now free to act independently of Rome. But, until its ascendancy was fully realized, England had to defend herself against continental Catholic powers that were willing to use force to subdue her. In the course if tune, Britain became the dominant Western power. Her multitude of nations spread around the globe were to go on to defend the West against Napoleon, the kaiser and Hitler. America was to continue that role as the leader of the free world.

What then is the West?

To people in Britain and the United States, the emphasis is on freedom of the individual, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, democracy and human rights. Neither country has been perfect in these areas, but this is where most people would put their emphasis.

But in a wider sense, "the West" comprises all the nations that can trace their history and culture back to the nations that once comprised the Western Roman Empire. England and some other countries of northwestern Europe separated themselves from the Western church in the 1500s. These nations went on to embrace democratic systems of government, with emphasis on basic freedoms for the individual citizen. Most of the other Western nations maintained their loyalty to the mother church and, until well into the 20th century, retained strictly hierarchical, monarchical forms of government.

But their common cultural heritage goes back to Rome. Interestingly, the 1957 Treaty of Rome began the long and arduous process of bringing most of these nations back together in the European Union.

These nations make up the majority of Western nations. They have tacitly recognized American leadership of the West since 1945. But if America suffers more major setbacks in the form of terrorist attacks, what would these nations do? Would they sit back and let themselves be defeated by the forces of militant Islam, a force that has threatened them previously in their history? Would they wait and see if somebody else replaced the United States as leader of the "free world"? What is the "free world" anyway?

Uppermost in their minds would be the need to preserve their independence, economic well-being and way of life. All Western nations are trading nations. They all depend on trade, on business, on the prosperity of the capitalist system. Never mind freedom of religion or freedom of the individual. Historically, they only became important during Britain's and America's preeminence. With America gone, who would care about such expensive niceties? The security of the state would be of paramount importance.

Jobs and the economy would be next on the list.

Daniel 11 predicts that a powerful force known as the "king of the South" will push against the "king of the North," "at the time of the end" (verse 40). This threatens the security and prosperity of those under the "king of the North." They react with massive military force, suggestive of advanced technology, which is not possible without wealth.

Right now, the United States and Canada are in alliance with the other Western nations. They will not be a part of the 10 nations that come together in the prophesied revival of the Roman Empire. These nations most likely will come from the same geographical area as the nations that made up the original Roman Empire, nations that have signed the Treaty of Rome, the economic union that is rapidly being transformed into a political and military union.

An ever closer union

Some of these nations, as you read this article, are in the midst of a dramatic and significant change-the replacement of their national currencies with one multinational currency, the euro. Of the 15 European Union (EU) nations, 12 have become one single market. At the same time, the 15 are busy negotiating with 10 other European nations who are likely to be members of the EU by 2005. Additionally, France and Germany have proposed a new European constitution that would unite the EU nations politically. Militarily, a significant step has been taken, as a direct consequence of the events of Sept. 11. To the surprise of everyone concerned, all 15 members of the EU have agreed to send troops as part of the international security force for Afghanistan. This is unprecedented. Three of the 15 are neutral countries. Never before have all 15 agreed on anything militarily. This is a reflection of the dramatic shift that has and is changing thinking around the world since the terrorist attacks on America.

At the present time, most of the nations of the EU are also members of NATO, the military alliance that links North America and Western Europe together.

After Sept. 11 the United States asked NATO to invoke Clause 5 of the NATO Treaty. This clause enables any member country to claim the military support of other members when attacked by a nation from outside the alliance. Originally this was intended to help any European nation attacked by the Soviet Union or its allies. Clause 5 had never before been invoked.

It is of supreme irony that the first nation to request that Clause 5 be invoked was the United States, until now the ultimate guarantor of the freedom of the other member states. This in itself could mean a significant change in the balance of power, still unclear so soon after the recent terrorist attacks.

As has often been said since the attacks on New York and Washington, the world will never be the same again. It's going to be some time before the full implications and consequences will be fully realized.

Sept. 11 has frequently been compared to the attack on Pearl Harbor, America's second single biggest loss of life in one day. That attack awoke a sleeping giant, the United States of America. By the end of the war less than four years later, the United States was the world's greatest military power. Her ally, Great Britain, together with the other nations that formed her empire and commonwealth, though victorious, was exhausted. Could it be that one of the consequences of Sept. 11 will be the awakening of another sleeping giant, the European Union, out of which will rise the final resurrection of the Roman Empire? Only time will tell. WNP