The Great Sea Gate Contest

The Great Sea Gate Contest

The current push by China to control the world’s seaways is but part of a massive change in the world order.

Not many years ago, Britain ruled the global seaways and controlled virtually every strategic sea gate on the planet.

The miraculous victories of the British nation vanquishing the Spanish Armada in 1588 and sinking the cream of the combined French and Spanish fleets at Trafalgar in 1805 opened the way for Britain to be gifted these assets.

After World War i, however, Britain’s ability to maintain these great sea gates vastly diminished. By the end of World War ii, Britain, exhausted with war weariness, its economy in tatters, the cream of its crop of young, up-and-coming leaders sacrificed largely in those two great battles, had started to yield up its vast empire—on which, it was once said, the sun never set. Within two decades, Britain had virtually given away its vast imperial holdings and yielded up control of every strategic sea gate, with three specific exceptions: Hong Kong, Gibraltar, and the Falkland Islands.

When Argentina attempted to seize the Falklands from Britain in 1982, the feisty Margaret Thatcher, prime minister at the time, would have none of it. Dispatching a British naval force to the rescue, Britain defeated the Argentinean incursion to retain control of its southernmost sea gate.

In 1997, however, under Prime Minister John Major’s administration, Britain did yield control to mainland China of another of those sea gates. Over two centuries, Britain had transformed this once barren rocky outcrop into a thriving port city, a financial hub and great trading crossroads between East and West: the city and territory of Hong Kong. The old British Empire’s last outpost in the Far East ceased to exist as such with the consequent withdrawal of its last official British Commonwealth-appointed governor, Chris Patten.

Pressure now mounts on Britain to hand over iconic Gibraltar, one of the last great remaining symbols of the old empire—and all that stands in the way of the monolithic European Union from sewing up control of the Mediterranean gateway to the Atlantic Ocean and that which lies beyond.

Since the close of the Cold War, with the collapse of the once vast Soviet political, economic and military system, the United States has struggled to maintain some semblance of global order and security as the world continues to shake itself into a new geopolitical structure. That American power is on the wane should be obvious to astute observers. That the EU, the Iranian-led Islamic states, Russia and China each have an agenda to become influential in creating a new world order is glaringly apparent to the most sensible analysts of the global scene.

As to the future of this present struggle for world dominance, even the very best of commentators, the sharpest of minds in our think tanks, cannot see it. But there is a way to comprehend the stupendous nature of its eventual outcome.

Take just one current example, involving the seaways of the Far East.

Stratfor reported October 19, “The U.S. Marine Corps will participate in unprecedented exercises with the Sri Lankan Navy at the end of October, deploying more than 1,000 Marines and large support ships to drill with the Sri Lankan armed forces on amphibious and counterinsurgency operations. Coincidentally, the exercise is occurring on beaches in Hambantota—precisely where the Chinese are planning to build oil and bunker facilities.

“The United States has a large interest in Sri Lanka. On a strategic level, the island sits on some of the most important shipping lanes in the world near many geopolitical hotspots, and has one of the finest ports in the world, Trincomalee” (emphasis ours).

Ruled by Britain from the 19th century through the period of the empire’s greatness, India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) were decolonized in 1947-48. A great, strategic gateway—a crossroad guarding the sea traffic flowing from Europe through Suez, from the oil-rich Middle East to Southeast Asia—was thus lost to Britain.

As a consequence, since the end of the Cold War—with China looming as a future economic and military giant in the region, Islam having heavily penetrated Asia southward to the Philippines and Indonesia—the U.S. has maintained a presence in the area. Stratfor points out, “Significant geographical factors—such as the Himalayan Mountains and thousands of miles of jungle—prevent India and China from having any real disputes. However, the countries share a common naval frontier near the Strait of Malacca and Singapore. The United States, with Indian assistance, intends to maintain the Indian Ocean as its own strategic waterway” (ibid.).

In this intention, the U.S. stands to be roundly defeated in the not-too-distant future, as Britain was before it.

The legacy of the British loss of Asia’s most strategic sea gates is now haunting U.S. geo-strategists as they struggle to maintain a balance in the contest between two nuclear powers—India and China—for control of the crucial East Asian sea gates. Meanwhile, another potential nuclear power, Japan, looks on worriedly, contemplating its options.

As we have repeatedly pointed out, China’s long-term strategy is to possess the world’s primary sea gates in order to dominate control of the world’s sea trade. China has largely accomplished the first goal, and is now busy building new port facilities, and further developing those that exist, at strategic locations around the world in preparation for fulfilling the second goal.

According to Stratfor, “China’s intrusion into the area by building ports at Gwadar in Pakistan, in Myanmar and now possibly in Bangladesh irks New Delhi. Thus, it is no coincidence that the exact area of the U.S.-Sri Lankan exercises is Hambantota, the very harbor that China announced it would begin developing for Colombo in 2005. … Hutchison Ports Holdings [is also planning to] commence operations on port projects at Mumbai and Chennai” (ibid.).

But Stratfor’s excellent vision of present-day reality struggles to comprehend just what will be the outcome of this Asian sea gate scenario: “Whatever Washington’s reasons for the exercises, the maneuvers could not happen without India’s permission. … India cannot risk offending its own sizable Tamil minority if there is not a substantial reward involved. In this case, the reward is the chance to send a targeted message to one particular country with the U.S.-Sri Lankan exercises: China.”

That certainly is the intention of both the U.S. and India. Such an exercise suits the power goals of both—for the moment. But it’s with the longer-term outlook where human reasoning finds its limits: “Chinese President Hu Jintao’s upcoming visit, during India’s National Day, will give both sides a chance to mend some fences, but the U.S. Marine Corps exercises reveal a deeper geopolitical reality: The United States and India will not tolerate Chinese expansion, especially into the Indian Ocean” (ibid.).

Nevertheless, biblical prophecy indicates that it will be China, with India and greater Asia in support, that will eventually win out in this great contest for supremacy on the high seas. The Bible records a very specific prophecy that the U.S. and Britain would possess the strategic sea gates of the world, only to later lose them. (That the British and American peoples are descendants of the patriarch Abraham through his grandson Joseph is proved in our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.) This collision of interests between the U.S. and China is quite prophetic, in the biblical sense, for it could never have happened without the prophecies of the loss of these strategic sea gates becoming a historic fact.

Believe it or not, the ultimate intention of China and these other Asian nations will, in the future, be to cooperate with Russia, and with certain Islamic states—even, albeit temporarily, with the greatest trading entity on Earth, the European Union, itself now dependent on friendship with China to maintain open access to the world’s ports. Why? To produce lockdown on the U.S., Britain and its old English-speaking dominions!

Your Bible prophesies of a time in the not-too-distant future when these nations will be locked out of all trade with all other nations! Read it for yourself in Deuteronomy 28:49-52.

And the reason for Almighty God rendering such an outcome on Abraham’s descendants? “Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies …” (verses 47-48).

But take heart! For the corollary of this is, if we turn and obey Almighty God, He will forgive us—and none of these curses for rebellion against Him will come upon us (Isaiah 1:18-19).

That is an outcome that no think tank can promise you.