A Jewel in America’s Crown—Lost

Though Katrina’s full impact is yet unknown, America has lost something vital: the showpiece in a territorial gift that helped make it the greatest single nation ever known.

To understand the extent of the America’s loss in New Orleans’ decimation by Hurricane Katrina, a bit of British history is worthy of review.

India was traditionally known as the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. Colonized by Britain in 1858, the acquisition of India by the empire led to Queen Victoria adding to her regal imperial titles the phrase “Empress of India” in 1877.

Britain’s acquisition of the Indian subcontinent opened up an eastern door, a great sea gateway, which consolidated the empire’s reach into all hemispheres—north, south, west and east. It enhanced Britain’s strategic trade and security structure as a globe-girdling empire beyond any before or since. The whole world became the beneficiary, to one extent or another, of this British influence (Genesis 12:3).

The British were fulfilling a great prophecy of God as they became a great company of nations (Genesis 35:11).

The influence of that great empire still impacts the old British colonies to this day. Its greatness hinged on its possession of the world’s major sea gates (Genesis 22:17; 24:60). The extent of these possessions by one nation had never before occurred in history, and has not been matched since.

Paradoxically, even as it was the colonizing of India that made Britain’s empire the greatest company of nations in history, it was the loss of that prime piece of real estate, when India was granted independence in 1947, that accelerated Great Britain’s demise as a great imperial power. The decolonization of India portended a rush by Britain—a nation exhausted following two great world wars—to grant independence to most of the rest of its vast foreign possessions. Just 20 years later, the British Empire was no more. Dispossessed of its strategic sea gates, Britain became a second-rate power.

Now note the parallel with New Orleans.

New Orleans—National Sea Gate

Track back to the year 1803. Napoleon is grasping for funds to fight his megalomaniacal wars in Europe. The upshot is a take-it-or-leave-it offer to the United States to purchase a huge swath of French-owned territory in North America, centered around that which we know as the state of Louisiana, for just $15 million. The Americans grabbed the deal.

Known as the Louisiana Purchase, this acquisition gave the evolving, upstart nation of the United States the most strategic of land possessions, with a potentially large seaport—providing a crucial junction for the inland waterways of North America—at the mouth of the great trunk route of the Mississippi River. It was this famous purchase that helped rocket the U.S. into the position of the greatest single nation on Earth, politically and economically. The U.S. had inherited and was fulfilling the great promise God made to its patriarch over 3,000 years before (Genesis 35:11). And it all revolved around a great river and sea gateway. Louisiana, with its strategically located Port of New Orleans, became a jewel in America’s crown.

Then, just over 200 years later—disaster!

On August 29, one of the greatest storms in U.S. history struck at the heart of this greatest of America’s seaports, obliterating New Orleans’ entire city infrastructure. The workforce fled. America sustained the most mortal of geopolitical wounds within its own shores in its entire history as a nation. A great sea gate lies crippled. The jewel in America’s crown has been crushed, not by any strike from its enemies, not from any nuclear missile, nor from any flying Islamic bombs—but, seemingly, by a quirk of weather!

Geopolitical Impact

Media commentary has focused, emotionally, on the human factor, and, to a lesser extent, the impact on the oil industry, with its concomitant result of higher gas prices at the pump. Overarching all this is the nauseatingly banal attempt to blame it all on the nation’s president.

What is missing is insightful analysis of the massive geopolitical impact of this latest curse on the United States, and the ripple effect on the global economy.

One phrase, from a thoughtful article in an Australian newspaper, The Age, pointed to the heart of New Orleans’ destruction, declaring, “The aorta of the American economy ripped asunder.” The Washington Post quoted C. James Kruse, director of the Center for Ports and Waterways at the Texas Transportation Institute, as saying, “I don’t think there is any historical precedent for an incident of this scale” (September 1).

Take a look at a map of the U.S. Its entire road, rail and goods distribution infrastructure, the veins and arteries of commerce, are all geared to one major clearing point—the huge handling facilities of the ports of South Louisiana and New Orleans located on the southern end of the mighty Mississippi River. “On its own merit, the Port of South Louisiana is the largest port in the United States by tonnage and the fifth-largest in the world. … [T]he New Orleans port complex … is where the bulk commodities of agriculture go out to the world and the bulk commodities of industrialism come in. The commodity chain of the global food industry starts here, as does that of American industrialism” (Stratfor, September 1).

Dr. George Friedman, who heads up the prime U.S. news analysis service, Texas-based Stratfor Systems, put it this way: “[I]t seems almost as if a nuclear weapon went off in New Orleans. … It appears to us that New Orleans and its environs have passed the point of recoverability. … It is not about the facilities, and it is not about the oil. It is about the loss of a city’s population and the paralysis of the largest port in the United States” (ibid.). This truly gets to the crux of the problem the U.S. now faces.

The jewel in America’s entire system of national and international commerce has been lost. As Dr. Friedman further observed, “Katrina has taken out the port—not by destroying its facilities, but by rendering the area uninhabited and potentially uninhabitable. That means that even if the Mississippi remains navigable, the absence of a port near the mouth of the river makes the Mississippi enormously less useful than it was. For these reasons, the United States has lost not only its biggest port complex, but also the utility of its river transport system—the foundation of the entire American transport system” (ibid.).

Louisiana Purchase

Many of our readers will remember that Herbert W. Armstrong once pointed to the Louisiana Purchase as being the seminal event that enabled the U.S. to suddenly rise from its status as a nation of little geopolitical influence to the single greatest nation in history. “By 1804 London had become the financial hub of the world. The United States had exploded out of its swaddling clothes of the 13 original states and had acquired the expansive Louisiana Purchase. It was fast sprouting up to become the mightiest nation of all time” (The United States and Britain in Prophecy). At just 3 cents an acre, the Louisiana Purchase is considered perhaps the greatest real-estate deal of all time. Thomas Jefferson called it “a transaction replete with blessings to unborn millions of men.” Henry Adams also wrote that this purchase was “an event so portentous as to defy measurement.”

With the stroke of a quill in 1803, America—small and relatively unproven in affairs of state—nearly doubled in size overnight. The deal set this great nation on a course that would propel it to greatness.

What the great ocean gateway of India was to the British Empire, the great southern mouth of the Mississippi was to become, nationally, to America: its most prestigious blessing!

Two centuries later, the loss of this great blessing, America’s chief port complex, attaches itself to a history that goes back thousands of years. It is the history of two nations—one destined to become the greatest global empire known to man, the other slated to become the single greatest nation ever. It is a history of stupendous blessings, withheld for 2,520 years from these nations before finally being lavished upon them in the 19th and 20th centuries.

It is also a history of great national curses upon two nations that failed to give honor to the great God who gave these blessings to them due to the simple obedience to Him of just one man (Genesis 12:1-3). Since the last decade of the 20th century, these curses have increasingly impacted the English-speaking peoples. Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans is the most recent such event. It will not be the last.

Prophesied History

This still-unfolding history of the British and American peoples was prophesied millennia ago. The prophesies are published for all to read in the Bible; their meaning is made clear in Mr. Armstrong’s book, from which we quoted above. (Copies of this book are available free of charge.) In the instance of Louisiana, what was prophesied millennia ago has now become documented historical fact. The world is witness to past national blessings and an emerging immediate future of huge curses.

Britain and the United States were founded by God through the descendants of Joseph, patriarch of one of the tribes of Israel. Referring to the prophecies in Genesis 35:11 and 48:18-20, Mr. Armstrong stated, “Now we see that the ‘nation’ to become truly great is to spring from the seed of Manasseh, the son of Joseph. The ‘company of nations’ is to grow out of Ephraim. Notice that, before dividing the promises, this prophetic blessing indicated plainly that the descendants of these lads should remain together, and together grow into a great multitude, then become separated, Manasseh becoming a great nation, and Ephraim a still greater company of nations” (ibid.). Thus was prophesied the separation of Britain and America at the conclusion of the Revolutionary War with the peace treaty signed between the two in 1783.

For 20 years, the fledgling nation of the U.S. remained of small consequence on the world scene. Then came the Louisiana Purchase, providing more than 800,000 square miles of land from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains.

Consider the history of Britain and America from 1803 on. “Between them the British and the American peoples had acquired more than two thirds—almost three fourths—of all the cultivated physical resources and wealth of the world. All other nations combined possessed barely more than a fourth. Britannia ruled the waves—and the world’s commerce was carried on by water. The sun never set on British possessions” (ibid.). That’s the way it was till the two great world wars. Then, following World War ii, the sun quickly set on the great British Empire.

What happened?

From Blessings to Curses

Almost as quickly as it had gained its great global empire, barely a century later, Britain lost it! By the latter part of the 20th century, Britain—sapped of the moral fiber and political will that sustained itfor two whole years as it faced the Nazi onslaught alone—had its imperial roar reduced to a meek whimper on the world scene.

Truly the great prophecies of Britain’s rebellion had swung into play. “Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard. Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me” (Hosea 7:11-13).

To this day, Britain remains reduced from its sole-superpower status of the 19th century to the role of a second-rate power.

Now, consider Britain’s brother nation, the United States of America. This once-great superpower is following the same pattern as Britain. Bountifully blessed with rapid development since that great land deal of 1803, the U.S. rose to stride the world as the singular superpower in a unipolar world. This great nation, having seemingly vanquished the Soviet enemy by 1990, just 15 years later is becoming the most hated nation on Earth. Look at the list of its current woes.

By 2005, the U.S. carried a total national debt to the tune of $8 trillion.

Since 1991, America has been involved in a war in Iraq that will not go away. Having fought three campaigns to finally rid the world of Saddam Hussein, the U.S. is currently sucked deeply into insurgency warfare in Iraq, a situation destined to continue to sap the nation of both political will and moral fortitude.

The terrorist attack of 9/11 and resultant declaration of a war on terror continue to have powerful negative effect on the U.S. economy, on national unity and on America’s image abroad.

Then comes Katrina.

This storm of massive fury ripped the aorta of American commerce asunder. The current estimated bill for the devastation in southern Louisiana tops $150 billion! The ripple effect of this gaping wound on America’s southern seaboard is yet to be fully comprehended.

From blessings to curses. That is the evolving history of the U.S. and Britain.

We have long been satiated by the blessings—but we have refused to give our great God the credit for them, let alone begin obeying our Creator! The time of Britain’s and America’s blessings is now history. This is the time of curses—curses for disobedience to our most loving and merciful God.

Thus, as the loving parent of humankind, our God is now moving to correct us for our gross national sins and disobedience to His immutable law. Katrina was a curse upon America! New Orleans is now a powerful witness to that truth.

And this, along with the 9/11 terror strikes, is just the beginning.

From Curses to Blessings

Yet the great paradox here is that these great national curses now accelerating within the lands of the British and Americans are a harbinger of a future bestowing of blessings on these nations that vastly supersede those they enjoyed at the peak of their national greatness!

Read it for yourself in the prophecy of Amos: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them” (Amos 8:13).

New Orleans will never be the same. Right now the city has ceased to exist as a viable entity. Attempts will be made to revive it, but the chances are they will never reach fruition before another government—one that will never fail the people, one that will be geared to respond with immediacy to their every need—a government, not of man, but of God—will revive the wasteland of the Mississippi delta into a pristine, moral, peaceful, secure, uncorrupted city of thriving wealth and commerce in a far, far better world than you can ever imagine! Write for your own free copy of our book The Wonderful World Tomorrow to discover this future for yourself, now!