Superpower Under Siege
If you asked the average American which nations posed the greatest threat to world peace, you’d probably hear a short list: Iran, North Korea, maybe Syria—countries where rogue elements violently oppose American ideals. Americans may think of “regimes” or terrorist groups as dangerous. But would any American say China? India? Europe?
Now, if you posed the same question in other nations, how many would name America? Though Americans might not think of others as their enemy, they may be surprised to know how many others worldwide think of them as such.
In a survey conducted late last year on behalf of the European Commission, Europeans were given a list of countries and asked to indicate which ones they felt presented a threat to world peace. In second place, the U.S. was chosen by 53 percent of the respondents. That percentage tied for second with Iran and North Korea—just behind Israel, at 59 percent.
Shocking? Consider this: “At a 1997 Harvard conference,” wrote political analyst Samuel P. Huntington, “scholars reported that the elites of countries comprising at least two thirds of the world’s people—Chinese, Russians, Indians, Arabs, Muslims and Africans—see the United States as the single greatest external threat to their societies” (Foreign Affairs, March-April 1999; emphasis mine throughout).
In 1997, the Japanese public also rated the U.S. as the greatest threat to their country behind North Korea!
When nations believe this about another nation, politically they will seek to contain, or “balance,” the nation seen as the threat.
History has seen many unlikely alliances form against common threats to challenge and ultimately remove them. This is exactly how the international community is responding to America’s bold foreign policy of late—joining forces on various levels to undermine or challenge what they perceive as America’s world domination.
After the Soviet Union’s fall in 1991, global politics changed—the “bipolar” world ended. Yet international relations did not simply move to a unipolar system. Rather it went to what Dr. Huntington calls a “uni-multipolar world.”
This system involves one superpower and several major regional powers. Historically, “tier two” nations have collaborated on various levels to balance the supremacy of the superpower—what Huntington calls an “antihegemonic coalition.”
Huntington cites examples of this kind of anti-U.S. cooperation—how relations among non-Western societies in the mid-1990s were improving, and how the U.S. was not invited to certain gatherings among these nations’ leaders. The most significant step in this direction, according to Huntington, was “the formation of the European Union and the creation of a common European currency. As French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine has said, Europe must come together on its own and create a counterweight to stop the United States from dominating a multipolar world” (ibid.).
This analysis, written nearly five years ago, is even more true today. Just last year, we saw the most overt antihegemonic moves by many of the regional powers of Europe and Asia, opposing U.S. military action in Iraq.
What has hindered nations from forming a more active, formal anti-American coalition to this point has been their dependence upon and desire to benefit from U.S. power and wealth. “Over time, however,” Huntington wrote, “as U.S. power declines, the benefits to be gained by cooperating with the United States will also decline, as will the costs of opposing it” (ibid.).
America’s display of military superiority in Iraq and muscular foreign policy under President Bush seem to be strengthening its political position in some ways. But ironically, it has also produced more resolve within the international community to diminish the U.S. power status. “At meetings of European security analysts the talk nowadays is more often about how to control American power than about how to combat international terrorism, weapons proliferation and the like” (Spectator, Oct. 18, 2003).
Numerous alliances have taken on increased fervor since Washington’s use of superior U.S. power in the Middle East. Unlikely coalitions are forming. Historic enemies are gathering at the same table, discussing one common concern: that America’s dominance has gone unchecked for too long. Like an international version of tv’s reality show “Survivor,” alliances are forming to vote America out of the game.
Europe and the Middle East
At the helm of this antihegemonic coalition is Europe. Evidence of this is the euro’s challenge to the dollar and the EU defense force’s challenge to nato. Then there is the EU’s increasing economic romance with Russia, China and other regional powers in Asia, and its opposition to the U.S. approach in Middle Eastern affairs.
Some argue that many of Europe’s foreign policies in the Mideast and North Africa, though economically beneficial to European interests, exist mainly to counter America. Europe has used the Middle East as a sparring ground against many U.S. policies. The most recent example, aside from its countering the U.S.-led Iraqi war, came when Europe backed the Geneva Initiative, a renegade peace accord agreed to between Israeli and Palestinian “unofficials.” Here Europe’s celebratory unveiling of the deal further exposed its eagerness to play the mediator in what has long been a U.S.-handled arbitration. Brokering a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians would be a major way to “curb the nearly boundless U.S. influence in the Middle East without triggering a direct confrontation with Washington” (Stratfor, Dec. 1, 2003).
Europe will play both friend and foe to these nations, depending on which tactic will better limit Washington’s influence. It will, for example, consolidate trade links and diplomatic relations with rogue states like Syria and the Sudan. Then, when it has played its opposition of U.S. policy for all it’s worth, the EU will crack down on these nations—preempting any bold moves by Washington. This is what the core nations of Europe are doing now with Syria. They are demanding Damascus comply with international standards on weapons of mass destruction, thereby launching a foreign-policy play that might otherwise have been driven by Washington.
When France, Germany and Britain made a similar move with Iran last October—securing a commitment from Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment and to sign an additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty—Iran triumphantly announced, “The United States has been isolated.” Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency said, “It is a victory for us, the EU and the international community.” (Interestingly, as our article on p. 17 shows, though Europe finessed the deal, Iran played both sides of the fence by using it to gain advantage with the U.S. as well.)
The EU has since done nothing but support Iran, saying it has “been honest” about its nuclear program and should not be made to appear before the UN Security Council, according to EU policy chief, Javier Solana. Though Solana admitted that both the U.S. and Europe have the same goal—a non-nuclear Iran—the EU is taking a much different tack.
This is all part of the EU’s strategy: to continue its “policy of constructive engagement” with nations such as Iran in order to boost its position and appear as the balanced, peaceful, stabilizing alternative to the harsh, unilateral policies of the U.S.
In Iran’s case in particular, the U.S. is isolated in its tough stance. Asian banks, in concert with European banks, are loaning $1.75 billion to develop one of the largest natural gas fields in the world in Iran. Even Japan, Washington’s strongest Asian ally, has forged ahead with a $2.5 million deal to develop one of Iran’s oil fields, ignoring U.S. pressure to the contrary.
Europe and Asia
This brings us to the EU’s recent efforts to step up its influence among Asian nations to balance the U.S.
In mid-2003, the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (asean) floated the idea of a trade pact between the two blocs.
China, Indonesia, India and Japan have all recently looked more toward the EU economically, politically and technologically.
India and the EU (India’s largest trading partner) signed deals at the end of 2003 to boost trade and investment even further. In a joint effort with the European Space Agency, China launched the Probe i satellite at the end of last year. As part of the Sino-European “Double Star” project, a second satellite is expected to be launched within six months.
Both China and India are on board to invest in the EU’s global satellite system, Galileo. China agreed to invest $255 million in the program “[d]espite intense objections from Washington,” reported London’s Daily Telegraph. “Experts say [Washington’s] real worry is EU efforts to set up a rival technology bloc” (Oct. 31, 2003). India, an American ally, also will invest $382 million in Galileo.
In the Jakarta Post, a major Indonesian newspaper, an expert in the affairs of the Asia-Europe Meeting (asem) admitted that asem was founded mainly to “challenge the domination of the U.S.” He said, “So, there is going to be multilateralism. We would like to keep it like that.”
This is increasingly how the world outside America’s borders thinks. To many, the U.S. is a greater threat than a nuclear Iran or North Korea!
Asia’s business sector is where the U.S. is being left out the most. The prime example is in the competition between the U.S.’s airline manufacturer Boeing and Europe’s counterpart Airbus for the expanding Asian aviation market—a race Airbus is winning. Even Washington’s political and cultural ally, Australia, is buying more airplanes from Airbus than from Boeing.
America is being challenged through Asian-European cooperation, and much of it has to do with the world’s finances. As Huntington stated, Europe set out to challenge the U.S. by creating a common European currency. The success of this currency thus far has new political romances forming, further isolating and defying U.S. influence. According to the Daily Telegraph quoted above, China and India are seeking a new intimacy with the EU (on projects like Galileo) because “Beijing and New Delhi have reassessed the EU since the euro was launched ….“
A major way in which the U.S. maintains power on the world scene is through the dollar: The greenback is the world’s reserve currency. Since resources like oil and gas are priced in dollars, the U.S. has “the freedom to keep printing dollars without sparking inflation, enabling it to fund wars, giant trade deficits, government spending programs and tax cuts” (Spectator, Oct. 18, 2003).
Yet, as investors lose faith in the dollar, America’s economic dominance comes into question. Russia and Europe now want to price oil and gas exports in euros instead of dollars. Talk of the switch occurred last October when Germany’s chancellor visited Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The move has set off a chain reaction in the private sector, leading to a fourfold increase in euro deposits in Russian banks this year and sending Russian citizens scrambling to change their stashes of greenbacks into euro notes” (Daily Telegraph, Oct. 10, 2003).
Since Russia—which boasts the world’s largest natural gas reserves and ranks second in oil exports after Saudi Arabia—supplies half of Europe’s energy needs, the pricing switch may seem logical. But there is more to it than that. The two leaders “are both keen to check American economic and diplomatic power” (ibid.). No matter what deal you find between two non-American companies or politicians, references always arise about checking and balancing American power!
The pricing switch would likely encourage other countries—also “keen to check American … power”—to follow suit. The main thing keeping most Middle Eastern exporters from switching to euro pricing is Saudi Arabia’s loyalty to Washington. “But now even the Saudis are wavering,” wrote Simon Nixon (Spectator, op. cit.). If Saudi Arabia were to follow suit, the dollar would lose significant clout in the Mideast and the world.
“If the oil producers turn their backs on the U.S. dollar, the ramifications for the global economy would be immense. … [B]oth oil exporters and importers would switch a significant proportion of their reserves into euros, thus triggering a stampede out of the dollar into euros” (ibid.).
Foreign investors have already been leaving America in droves this past year, with the U.S. dollar being propped up by banks in Asia. “But the danger is that if Asian central banks do stop buying dollars, the result will be a devastating collapse in the U.S. currency” (ibid.).
Nixon relates that the dollar is in the same predicament that the British sterling was in just before it was replaced by the dollar as the global reserve currency in the 1930s (see p. 8). Americans, he writes, “now face a challenge to their economic hegemony.”
Asian Checks and Balances
Asia is the continent where U.S. influence is strongest in many ways. Alliances and strong relations with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan, to name a few, give Washington considerable leverage in international politics. But even this is beginning to change. Certain allies are trying to shed their American cloak, while others—like China—are using their increased strength to firm up intra-Asian relations, in an effort to neutralize and replace U.S. influence.
In Central Asia, Russia and the U.S. are scrambling for influence in the former Soviet republics. While America, thanks to the war on terror, is suddenly interested in increasing its military presence in the region, Moscow is doing what it can to one-up Washington. India and China are also keen to establish more bases in Central Asia to check an America that is coming uncomfortably close to their borders.
And it has been no secret that, since the U.S. took military action in Kosovo nearly six years ago, Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi have batted around the idea of forming a tripartite axis to counterbalance Washington’s power plays. Though Russia and India have had strong ties for many years, China and India have been historic adversaries. They have never shared such sunny relations as they do now. In addition to enjoying unprecedented military cooperation, the two powers are bolstering their economic ties.
Why is this happening? Two bitter rivals do not just change their policies toward each other for no reason at all. Stronger forces are at work here. And it has to do with containing U.S. influence in the East.
When it comes to besieging U.S. influence in Asia, China stands at the helm—shoring up relations with its smaller neighbors. A case in point is Muslim Indonesia. Asia Times stated, “U.S. policies are causing domestic difficulties for moderate Muslim states. … This, coupled with the rise of China and improving relations between that country and Indonesia, could be a harbinger of a new regional power and an alternative to the U.S.-led global order. … [China’s] externally oriented policy will continue to put it into conflict with U.S. strategic interests, which will continue to stress security and ‘Western values,’ causing backlashes within developing nations” (Asia Times, Nov. 13, 2003).
On a larger scale are China’s efforts to secure strong ties with asean. “In a little-noticed ‘Strategic Partnership’ agreement, which China and asean quietly signed in Bali in early October, are buried the seeds of closer security cooperation that analysts and officials say China aims to use to dilute American influence in the region” (Far Eastern Economic Review, Nov. 20, 2003).
The Review quoted a senior asean official: “The whole objective of the policy is to avoid strategic encirclement by the U.S.”
What is to prevent China’s success? Chinese foreign policy expert Sheng Lijun says the biggest obstacle to China’s “circling of the wagons” in East Asia is Japan. “Japan’s political over-dependence on the U.S. defeats Beijing’s political purpose of East Asia integration,” he says (ibid.).
So the pin holding Washington’s influence in Asia in place is its relations with Japan. But U.S.-Japanese ties are becoming strained as their interests diverge. Watch for further contention in this alliance, likely triggered by America’s deepening economic woes, which may cause Japan to untie itself from the U.S. If Tokyo’s relations with Beijing improve, China’s ability to round up Asia and counter U.S. hegemony in Asia will be realized.
So what does this global climate portend? Are these challenges to U.S. dominance significant? For the answer, we must turn to the only truly reliable source for accurate geopolitical forecasting—the Holy Bible. According to prophecy, the seemingly invincible United States of America will not merely be marginalized by its enemies, but surrounded and besieged!
Yes, these alliances will ultimately succeed at overthrowing the only remaining superpower! And, ironically, they are forming even while the U.S. appears stronger than ever.
Prophecies in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 list the blessings and curses to befall the latter-day nations of Israel (which include the U.S., Britain, Israel and other English-speaking nations) were they to follow God or turn from Him. Because America has turned from God, its reign as a superpower is nearly finished. It has already begun to reap the curses God warned about—terrorism, broken national will and failure in foreign policy and military ventures (Lev. 26:16-19).
These curses will climax in a nightmare: America’s fall to another nation, which prophecy shows to be “Assyria,” or modern-day Germany (Isa. 10:5). Deuteronomy 28:49-50 reads, “The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; A nation of fierce countenance ….” The same Hebrew phrase for “fierce countenance” is used in Daniel 8:23, where God describes the man who will lead Germany in the end. Germany—that nation which flies as the “eagle”—will deal the deathblow to the U.S., taking it off the world stage altogether.
“And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee” (Deut. 28:52). The fact is, God gave America its power—domestically and in foreign policy. But because the U.S. has forgotten this and insists on trusting in its own strength, God tells this nation that it will be besieged by a greater power. God states this twice in the same verse!
Dangerous World to Follow
If the U.S. were toppled in the global order or even severely crippled geopolitically, would the world be a safer place? Few realize that the multipolar solution many are seeking would not bring global stability. These alliances of convenience will not last once the U.S. is out of the picture.
Bible prophecy reveals that once the superpower seat is left vacant, the new “multipolar” world will be even more dangerous. God’s Word refers to this as the “times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24; see also Rev. 11:2)—referring to the absence of the Israelite powers. Current events show how dreadfully near we are to this time, when nations will vie for the superpower slot!
This power struggle is summarized in the final verses of Daniel 11. In this passage, God identifies three power blocs or coalitions that will collide in a fierce world war as none has ever seen! The conflict will begin when two of these alliances face off in battle. “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (v. 40). The king of the south, as our free booklet by that name will show you, is radical Islam. It will “push” at the other power here, the king of the north—united Europe, led by Germany.
The prophecy in Daniel 11, along with others, shows how Europe’s victory over radical Islam will allow it unchecked dominance in the world—particularly over the Western hemisphere and the Middle East (vv. 41-44). Its reign as superpower will plunge the world into a time Christ called the greatest time of suffering ever on planet Earth (Matt. 24:21), or “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation” (Dan. 12:1).
As nations do not allow one nation’s or bloc’s power to get out of “balance,” there must arise another coalition to counterbalance the European superpower—the world’s newest threat, much greater than the U.S. ever posed!
Bible prophecy says that is exactly what will happen! Daniel 11:44 explains it this way: “But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him [the king of the north]: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.” Other prophecies show this alliance “out of the east and out of the north” to be a grouping of Asian nations—Russia, China, Japan, India and others. The “balancing” this alliance attempts will culminate in the destruction of millions of lives worldwide.
Gentile Powers to Be Challenged!
The greatest threat to global peace is not the nation most believe: the U.S. Nor is it those the U.S. believes—a handful of rogue non-democratic regimes in the Middle East. These prophecies show us it is, rather, a coalition of European nations, plus a confederacy of radical Islamic nations, met by another conglomeration of Asian civilizations.
Only through bringing down these alliances will the world know true stability and peace. But how can this happen? It cannot through men—only through supernatural means, brought about by the return of Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Luke recorded how these tumultuous times will lead to Christ’s Second Coming: “[T]hen shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:27-28).
At His return, Jesus Christ will destroy these coalitions and bring peace to the Earth. Through conquest of His enemies will He usher in a new era in global politics: a unipolar world, dominated by one government—God’s government—perfectly administering the benevolent law of God.