The Great Illusion
Understanding Russia and China’s penchant for violent revolutions, shadowy secrecy, and a multi-generational distrust of the west, why would these two nations announce to the world a ‘no limits’ partnership at the beginning of the 2022 Beijing Olympics? Was this simply to give the current world order a giant middle finger, or is there something more nefarious at play? Or both?
Given Russia’s ongoing military provocations in Ukraine and China’s ominous threats towards Taiwan, it would seem this is far more serious than just bluster. But it begs a huge question, as to why they would paint a bull-eyes on their own backs by making a public announcement like this? If military conquest was always their intent (Ukraine, Taiwan), why tip their hand? Haven’t they read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, chiefly that all warfare is based on deception? Why telegraph your moves before you make them?
I think the question is answered with the sober realization that the US is on its way down, and although we may not recognize it, other nations have. I think we are seeing the same level of respect now from Russia and China that the Germans showed the British between the 1930s and 1940s. Ironically, instead of a Neville Chamberlain, we have a Joseph Biden. So perhaps the question regarding China and Russia’s telegraphed actions isn’t why now, but rather, why not?
Now, this article is by no means giving an excuse for what Putin has done in Ukraine, or what China plans to do in Taiwan, but if we are looking at provocations as objectively as possible, then the street goes both ways. As far as autocratic threats, has the West taken a good hard look in the mirror to see how it’s handled the draconian pandemic response, its medical mandates, and increasingly Orwellian censorship of free speech and assembly?
In 1910, Angell wrote a book titled “The Great Illusion.” In it, he wrote that industrialization, modernization, and capitalism disincentivized war between modern western nation-states. He reasoned that because the cost of war was too high, thus unprofitable, war was unlikely to ever happen again. Even the periodical of note at that time, the Economist, was smitten. In 1913, they heralded, “War Becomes Impossible in Civilized World.” However, by June of 1914, the world would be engulfed in its First World War.
The theory championed then by Angell was similar to the one we hear being bantered around today. There has never been a war between two countries with a McDonald’s in them. Nonsense. As a matter of record, there are 60 McDonald’s franchises in Ukraine, and 847 in Russia. Somehow, the sway of the “Golden Arches” was not enough to quell the expansionist desires of one Vladimir Putin any more than a single mcnugget would appease the hunger of a ravenous bear. Apologies upfront for the length of the quote, but I needed to set the context by quoting from this amazing 2014 article titled, “World War One: First war was impossible, then inevitable.”
The real “Great Illusion,” of course, turned out to be the idea that economic self-interest made wars obsolete. Yet a variant of this naïve materialism has returned. It underlies, for example, the Western foreign policy that presents economic sanctions on Russia or Iran as a substitute for political compromise or military intervention.
The truth, as the world discovered in 1914 and is re-discovering today in Ukraine, the Middle East and the China seas, is that economic interests are swept aside once the genie of nationalist or religious militarism is released. As I pointed out in this column, Russia has in past conflicts withstood economic losses unimaginable to politicians and diplomats in the Western world -- and the same is true of Iran and China.
Though historians continue to debate World War One’s proximate causes, two key destabilizing features of early 20th-century geopolitics created the necessary conditions for the sudden spiral into all-consuming conflict: the rise and fall of great powers, and the over-zealous observance of mutual-defense treaties. These features are now returning to destabilize geopolitics a century later…
Today, Russia is a declining power and China is rising, while the United States is trying to maintain the 20th-century balance of power, with Europe and Japan as junior partners. Under these conditions, both rising and declining powers often conflict with nations currently in control…
Rising and declining powers naturally tend to unite against the status quo leaders. In 1914, for example, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire did this against France, Britain, and Russia; today it is logical for China and Russia to collaborate against the United States, the European Union, and Japan…
…Which brings me to the clearest lesson from 1914: the pernicious nexus of treaties and alliances that commit great powers to fight on behalf of other countries. This turned localized conflicts into regional or global wars -- and did so with terrifying speed and unpredictability…
Consider this statement by General Sir Richard Shirreff, formerly NATO’s second most senior military officer at a debate about Russia: “Everyone surely agrees that we would be ready to go to war to defend Britain’s borders. Well, as a NATO member, Britain’s borders are now in Latvia.”
It may seem almost impossible that Washington would go to war against Beijing to defend some uninhabited Japanese islands. Or against Moscow over some decrepit mining towns in Donbas, if Ukraine ever joined NATO. In early 1914, though, it seemed almost impossible that Britain and France would go to war with Germany to defend Russia against Austria-Hungary over a dispute with Serbia. Yet by June 28, war moved straight from impossible to inevitable -- without ever passing through improbable. Four years later, 10 million people had died. (my emphasis)
A century ago (to the year) after the Bolsheviks officially cut ties with their Tsarist past, a dying Vladimir Lenin handpicks Josef Stalin to be the new secretary-general of the Bolshevik party. He would go on to become one of, if not, the greatest tyrants of the twentieth century. Here again, a century later, we see the shadowy pretenses come off as another Vladimir (Putin) removes all pretenses of going along to get along. The era of coexistence between the East (Russia and China) and the increasingly globalist-west, is over.
The Timeline to Conflict (Abbreviated)
Author’s note: For the sake of brevity, if the leader’s title says “Pro-NATO” assume significant cooperation and progress towards NATO membership. Pro-Russian, then a pulling away from the west towards Russia
1991: Collapse of the Soviet Union
1991-94: Presidency of Leonid Kravchuk (1991-94) NATO relations were formally established in 1992 when Ukraine joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council after regaining its independence (this was later renamed the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council)
1994: Ukraine was the first post-soviet country to conclude a framework agreement with NATO in the framework of the Partnership for Peace
1994-2005: Presidency of Leonid Kuchma (Pro-NATO)
2004: Orange Revolution (this was caused by massive election fraud and corruption for pro-Russian presidential candidate-Yanukovych). Election overturned, re-voted, and Yushchenko elected
2005-10: Presidency of Viktor Yushchenko (Pro-NATO)
2008: Russia invades Georgia, creates to pro-Russian quasi-states
2010-14: Presidency of Viktor Yanukovych (Pro-Russian)
-fled to Russia amid the Euromaidan uprising in Feb 2014
2014: Euromaidanuprising (Dec 2013-Feb 2014)
2014: (August) Russia invades and takes over Crimea
2014-19: The Interim Yatseniuk Government takes over
2014-19: Presidency of Petro Poroshenko (Pro-NATO)
2018: NATO added Ukraine in the list of NATO aspiring members
2019: Presidency of Volodymyr Zelensky (Pro-NATO)
On 14 September 2020, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky approved Ukraine's new National Security Strategy, "which provides for the development of the distinctive partnership with NATO with the aim of membership in NATO."
2021: (April) Russia begins buildup of troops on Russian-Ukraine border
2022: (Feb 24) Russia begins an invasion of Ukraine from three sides (East, North, and South)
Russia: So what was the straw that broke the Russian camel’s back? Aside from the unceasing push of NATO eastward, and the relentless wooing of the West to Ukraine, it would seem it was President Zelensky’s unabashed intentions to join NATO. But national security concerns aside, the two underlying reasons behind the why of Putin’s obsession with Ukraine are these in order of precedence:
1. Reuniting Ukraine back into the Russian sphere of control and influence (i.e. Alexandr Dugin’s Fourth Political Theory of a greater Russian Eurasia)
2. Ukraine, and more importantly, Kyiv, holds religious and historical importance to Russia and the Eastern Orthodox faith, which means they are equally important to Putin
3. Keeping EU dependent upon Russia for energy (natural gas)
4. Russian influence domination of the Middle East
Ukraine: Clearly, western Ukraine’s motivation for NATO membership is collective protection from the West. Zelensky, and other pro-NATO president’s don’t want what happened to Georgia, to happen to them. Thus, they have played the over-eager candidate to an uninterested suitor all these years. The motivation from the West would be to hold off on Ukraine membership for another 20-25 years if possible. Ukraine carries with it a lot of baggage in the form of political and economic corruption, contested territories (Donbas Region) in the east, and a guaranteed war should they be accepted into NATO. This is something the rest of NATO is willing to take on at the present.
United States: The US motivation is to weaken Russia’s influence in Europe, primarily in the way of energy dependence. Nordstream 1 provides somewhere around 40% of Europe’s energy (natural gas) needs. Nordstream 2 pipeline would have provided another 40%, making 80% of Europe’s energy imports dependent upon good to fair relations with Russia. That was an unacceptable proposition for the Americans from Obama to Biden.
China: The People’s Republic of China, like Russia, are tired of the West running the world. For them, this is their century to dominate and feel like they are on the cusp to take it. From their belt and road initiative (BRI), to their stratospheric buildup of science and military, they are (as of 2015) considered a near-peer threat to US hegemony. They study history and know that just as all the European powers rose and fell, America is in decline and we are funding (through imports) their ascendancy. Financially speaking, the US could do little to hurt China. However, China has its own existential problems, like the massive gender imbalance in the population (male to female), aging populations, shady financials, non-existent transparency, and weakening markets in the west.
The West: The western world has largely decided to boycott and ban any dealings with Russia. International corporate giants like Nike and Apple have also genuflected a standing away from any dealings with Russia. This author is curious to know if these same companies will remain true to their convictions when China takes over Taiwan. Furthermore, with Russia siding with them, it’s likely our sanctions won’t hurt the Russians either. The priorities for the West largely lie with windmill threats (think Don Quixote) like man-caused climate change, social justice, white supremacy, and a million other politically correct issues. With a weak US president at the head of Western Civilization, and an aging military incapable of sustaining two major simultaneous conflicts, along with a host of European boutique-armies, the Chinese, Russians, and Iranians realize that now is the time to strike.
Globalists: For those dedicated New World Order types like the Rockefellers, Obamas, Clintons, Bushs', Rothschilds, Soros, World Economic Forum devotees, Bilderbergers, Club of Rome, etc., this current crisis is the best of all possible scenarios. This is just a theory, so I'm not wholly wedded to it, but it seems plausible to say the least. If I were an NWO type, and I needed American subservient, and the two other global malcontents either neutralized or substantially weakened, I would just pit the three against each other and watch them destroy themselves. Sounds like the plot right out of the movie, The Sum of All Fears.
Even more than the above-mentioned motivations is the question of global dominance between post-nationalist entities like Russia and China, and the globalists. The West wants to usher in the “Great Reset” and the United Nation’s Agenda 2030, but Russia and China are having none of it. That is why George Soros recently turned against China in a very public way, and why the World Economic Forum is solidly standing behind Ukraine and Zelensky.
There are two visions for the way ahead according to the world. There is the coming global government, and the multi-polar super-states with Russia and China at the helm. At least, that is the way men like Putin and Xi Jinping see it. For them, this is the World War I moment, except, they have all the momentum behind them. They see the US in decline and are beginning to make their moves to accelerate that decline.
They know the US Dollar (the world’s current global reserve currency) is on the outs, and they are trying to stay ahead of the curve. They are minimizing their ties and debt to the dollar, and are ready to bring online their own Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) to take the place as the global reserve currency.
History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes. Mark Twain
The great illusion isn’t that the economies drive peace, or that the US is in control (it isn’t and we aren’t). The great illusion is not economical or even geopolitical. It’s the biblically derived conclusion that unredeemed men think they are running world affairs. Regardless of whether you are an Egyptian Pharaoh, Babylonian King, Roman Caesar, US President, or global dictator, man does not control anything, but God. He sets the boundaries and the times for which nations rise and fall, not we mere mortals.
According to Scripture, there are two major wars left to happen. The first is the Gog-Magog War, and the second is the Armageddon Campaign. I tend to side with the Andy Woods Version of the players and actors in Gog-Magog, which means, Rosh (proper noun) means Russia, Magog (the nations formerly aligned under the Soviet Union) as well as the African, Turkish, Persian, and Asian cohorts joining in on the invasion. And these do so with no one to stop them. If you haven't watched the below teaching by Dr. Andy Woods, please do so. It provides an excellent, biblically-based, well-balanced teaching on Ezekiel 38-39.
Although the EastMed Pipeline Project is suspended, for now, it is my understanding that somehow this pipeline project eventually comes to fruition. It will begin shipping Europe's energy needs from the Israeli Levant Basin through Cyprus, to Greece, and into southern Europe will come to supplant the defunct Nordstream pipelines. This, along with Israel's tactical strikes against the Iranian nuclear project will certainly be enough cause to turn Russia’s ire to the south. They will turn their focus against Israel, and they will find no shortage of Israeli enemies that will join in the fracas, only to find out, that they are no match for God’s divine providence.
This brings the question back to my original point of why we are seeing what we are seeing with regards to Russia and China. The question really boils down to either why now or why not? I’ve always subscribed to the idea that given the exceptional nature of our nation's existence, the US collapse at the Rapture of the Church is what triggers the global order to be overthrown in the blink of an eye. And I still believe that. However, if what I said is true with regards to the nations today, then our day of redemption must be all the sooner. Because in Ezekiel 38-39, God's focus is not on the Church (where it is today), but back on this covenanted land and people, to whom He owes, seven final years.
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; Acts 17:26-27