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"Wars and rumors of wars ... nation will rise against nation"


The headline to this post is, of course, from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 24, verses 6-7.  I'm not saying these are the end times.  After all, people have said that since Christ walked the earth, ignoring his own declaration that "about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matthew 24:36).  Nevertheless, there are so many conflicts breaking out that it must surely give any reasonable man pause to wonder.

We've been watching events in the Russia-Ukraine conflict for several months now.  China's been saber-rattling over Taiwan, although that hasn't (yet) escalated into open hostilities.  A few days ago, Azerbaijan (backed by Iran and Turkey) launched yet another military assault on Armenia (part of Russia's hegemony), and fighting is still going on.  In Ethiopia, a years-old civil conflict may at last be drawing to a close, but there have been ceasefires before there, and all of them have broken down.  Who knows how long the present efforts will bear fruit?  The list of ongoing armed conflicts is extensive;  and, for all that most of them are "small wars", one can end up just as dead in a small war as in a big one.  (Examines scars on own body, nods sagely, mops brow in relief.)

Now the Iran-Israel conflict looks to be building up a new head of steam.  An Iranian general has announced a new drone aircraft that is "specifically designed to attack Tel Aviv and Haifa" in Israel;  and Israel has revealed the existence of an Iranian factory in western Syria that is allegedly producing "precision-guided missiles for Iran and Hezbollah, thereby disrupting the balance in the region".

Of all the wars going on right now, I think the Iran-Israel conflict is the most likely to produce nuclear exchanges.  Iran has openly declared, over and over again, that its objective is the eradication of the state of Israel;  and Israel has demonstrated its unwillingness to be eradicated by several operations inside Iran, to say nothing of a few wars here and there since its foundation.  Unlike rational people, Iran's leaders aren't scared by that, because they're religious fanatics who believe that if they precipitate nuclear war, that will force the return of the Twelfth Imam, and bring about the Shi'ite Islamic version of the parousia.  Israel is no less determined to ensure its own survival.

If Israel escalates its attacks on Iranian forces and facilities in Syria (which have been going on for several years already), the pressure for Iran to respond in kind (or have its proxies in Hezbollah and Hamas do so on its behalf) will be well-nigh irresistible.  Israel, in turn, is not likely to be daunted by that prospect;  and, if Iran looks to be on the verge of acquiring a nuclear capability (rather than just bragging about it), I think we'll see a response from Israel that will leave several extensive, glass-topped parking lots across large sections of the Iranian countryside.  If that happens, it's likely to drag in the superpowers, because the USA is committed to Israel's defense, while China is a major ally of Iran.

Each of these festering conflict zones can cause an escalation that might draw in other powers, or encourage other belligerent nations to act instead of talking about it.  They'll hope that others will be so preoccupied or distracted by other conflicts that they won't do anything effective to stop yet another war until the belligerent has had time to snatch what it wants.  Unfortunately, there's no guarantee of that;  and once this pattern gets started, with outbreaks of violence here, there and everywhere, it's very, very difficult to stop it.  (Look at how World War I and World War II got their start, with small conflicts blowing up very fast into bigger ones.)

Right now, the world economy is in an utterly parlous state, financially and structurally.  I don't think any nation is in a position to afford a major war.  However, there are those who'll apply the "Rahm principle", and seek to use a war as a tool to impose their agenda on their countries and others.  They might actually prefer to see a widespread war as a way to implement policies that they couldn't impose any other way.  (Yes, World Economic Forum, I'm looking at you!)

With economies worldwide in trouble, and famine threatening almost every nation to a greater or lesser extent, and wars popping up like pimples on the geopolitical landscape, it's no wonder people all over are feeling frightened, unsettled, uncertain.  They're looking for answers, and more than ready to blame anything that looks like it might be blame-able for these uncertain times.

All I can say is, the good Lord never promised us a life of milk and honey, or wine and roses.  He promised us grace to cope with whatever confronted us.  That hasn't changed - for which, thanks be to God.


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