Weakness in Victory

America seems unprecedentedly strong. Is it possible that the nation is actually under a curse of weakness?
From the June 2003 Trumpet Print Edition

The idea of being under a curse may seem ancient and superstitious in this modern, scientific age. But if you believe the Bible, you know that curses are real—even today.

To the ancient nation of Israel, while God promised manifold blessings for obedience to His laws, He also warned about terrifying curses for disobedience (e.g. Lev. 26; Deut. 28). A discerning look at history proves that God carried out those promises.

Why is this example recorded in the Bible? God says we must learn the lessons (Rom. 15:4; i Cor. 10:11). The United States and Britain are the modern inheritors of the birthright promises made to their progenitor Israel (as our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy proves).

Note this. These are prophecies for our time—as up to date as the headlines in today’s newspapers!

To rebellious Israel and its descendants, God warns, “I will break the pride of your power … And your strength shall be spent in vain” (Lev. 26:19-20).

Consider the staggering implications of these verses.

This implies that these modern nations have power, and pride in that power—they have military strength. This fact is corroborated by other prophecies about the modern descendants of Israel (e.g. Gen. 24:60; 49:22-26; Mic. 5:7-9). But—because of these nations’ disobedience, God would break that pride, and thus—as a curse—all that power would be wasted, squandered!

Is America now under this curse? It may seem almost silly to presume so. The victory in Iraq was impressive—powerful, efficient. A regime tumbled, and a dictator disappeared, in three quick weeks. In some ways, America today seems unprecedentedly strong, most particularly because it has a decisive president who is willing to stake his reputation on unpopular decisions he believes to be right. But there are significant aspects of the Iraq campaign and its aftermath that actually show how the nation has an alarmingly faint heart.

The United States has many enemies. President George W. Bush actually has a much clearer grasp of reality than the many people who would have left Saddam Hussein in power. He understands that those enemies, left to themselves, would quickly challenge America’s ability to protect itself against them.

However, measure the way the Iraq campaign was fought against the history of warfare. As commentator Daniel Pipes wrote in a New York Post article (April 16), “traditional features of warfare have been turned upside-down.”

Consider some examples.

Perhaps the overarching adjustment in wartime thinking is a redefinition of the nature of the enemy. Rather than considering the whole of a foreign country the enemy, now “the authorities painstakingly distinguish between the government (the Taliban, Saddam Hussein’s regime, Arafat) and the people (Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians). The former is the enemy; the latter, potentially friendly” (ibid.). Sounds reasonable. But it has towering ramifications.

For example, rather than trying to inflict as many casualties as possible, now “Western armies strive to keep down the other sides’ losses” (ibid.). Even with the entire Iraq campaign being driven by careful precision strikes on specific government targets, criticism still flew over any loss of Iraqi civilian life. This mindset resulted in problems like ambushes from foreign troops dressed as civilians—who, ironically, were clearly less concerned about casualties among their own people than the Americans were.

One enormous consequence of this approach is that now, instead of plundering the loser, “starting with the Marshall Plan after World War ii, the U.S. government established the precedent of paying for the rehabilitation of its former enemies” (ibid.). Thus, rather than growing richer off the spoils of war, America risks going broke trying to rebuild those nations it defeats.

This transformation in thinking—that war is actually intended to help the enemy—has come to the point where, now, rather than measuring a war’s success in terms of increased homeland security or other national benefits, many Americans consider war a failure as long as there are continued problems afterward in the target country.

Why the change?

Much of the world is decrying America’s so-called cowboyism, its supposed unilateralism and lack of concern for the opinions and interests of other nations. This is the story being pitched by the world’s media, including much of the liberal American press.

This new style of warfare is largely intended to put these criticisms to rest. It is meant to be more humane, more altruistic. It is meant to make the world more comfortable with the benign supremacy of American superpower.

When you recognize the degree to which America is trying to wage war in a way that, it believes, should place it above reproach in the eyes of other nations—the degree to which it is actually putting those nations’ opinions and interests ahead of its own—then the truth comes into better focus: Despite its firestorm of shock and awe, America has exposed an underbelly of fatal weakness.

Look at the headlines in your newspaper today. You will see that none of the effort to protect Iraqi civilians, none of the humanitarian aid, none of the care in ensuring that Iraq keep its own wealth, none of the endeavors to put government back into the hands of the Iraqi people—nothing that America has done to conduct the Iraq campaign from this “higher moral ground”—is earning the United States even one iota of respect among other nations.

America’s initial hesitancy to use force to restore law and order to Baghdad—in its efforts to appease the world community—ironically became the subject of much criticism. America continues to be blamed for the looting, the lack of order, the perceived slow restoration of basic services. At the same time, despite its insistence that it will get out as quickly as possible, it is accused of being imperialistic. Everyone is glad to see Saddam gone, yet ultimately, no postwar government that appears friendly to the U.S. will be accepted as legitimate by the vast majority of Mideast inhabitants. It is a lose-lose affair.

The United States is targeting a small segment of its enemies. As it does so, the hatreds of many more of its enemies—who at this point are smart enough to challenge the U.S. only in ways that do not provoke it militarily—are being heated to the boiling point.

The Bible prophesies of those enemies (some even still being viewed by the U.S. as allies) bringing America down in the near future! You can read about this by requesting The United States and Britain in Prophecy. No tweaking of American foreign policy could prevent that from happening—only turning in heartfelt repentance and looking to God for protection and deliverance.

The United States, powerful as it is, will be unable to protect itself for much longer. In Iraq, we are seeing on display the war policy of a country with no real pride in its power, a country that is spending its strength in vain.