The crisis in Ukraine is demonstrating the inability of NATO to stand up to Russia, and highlights America's growing impotency. At the same time indications are being seen of a burgeoning relationship between the Vatican and Russia as it cautiously unites against a common foe - America.
The pot continues to boil in the Ukraine, and the entire world is focused on what may happen next.
America has made the pledge to support its NATO allies. An article in Bloomberg stated:
The U.S. will defend its NATO allies “no ifs, ands or buts,” U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said today at an Atlantic Council conference in Washington.
Secretary of State John Kerry said at the conference yesterday that unlike Ukraine, which isn’t a NATO member and where alliance nations have ruled out war, a move against a treaty ally would have grave consequences.
“We have to make it absolutely clear to the Kremlin that NATO territory is inviolable,” Kerry said. “We will defend every single piece of it.”
The comments by Biden and Kerry are intended to reassure nations such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all former Soviet republics, and draw a red line for Russia."
The article goes on to state:
"Historically, Americans have supported the defense commitment to NATO, the key alliance assembled after World War II to defend Western Europe against the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies. Under Article 5 of the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty, the U.S. and all other members would consider an armed attack on any one of them an attack on all."
The article quoted Stephen Hadley, national security advisor to President George W. Bush had the following to say:
“I think this is also about shattering NATO and potentially shattering the EU, because if he were to do something in the Baltics and we did not respond, that’s the end of Article 5, that’s the end of NATO,” Hadley said, addressing the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based group that promotes trans-Atlantic relations, shortly before Biden spoke."
“Potentially this is not just about reestablishing some kind of Russian empire, it’s also quite frankly an effort to see how far he can go to disrupt NATO and perhaps even disrupt” the European Union."
Growing NATO Presence
There is a lot of fear throughout the Baltic States. The same Bloomberg article also stated:
"The Estonians are “scared to death” that Putin will threaten them as he has the Ukrainians, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said this week."
The response from Joseph Biden, America’s Vice President was also given:
“In response to Russian aggression, America is taking steps to make clear that our allies will honor the solemn commitments under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, that is an absolute, ironclad guarantee.''
Responding to the Ukraine crisis, Canada announced the movement HMCS Regina, currently deployed in the Arabian sea as a supply ship, to join the NATO’s “Maritime Group 1” which patrols the Mediterranean Sea. NATO’s news agency reports that this group was deployed April 22 to the Baltic Sea. The group is made up of five ships: two from Norway, one each from Belgium, Holland, Estonia. They are mostly minesweeping vessels, except for the Norwegian frigate Valkyrien which is the flag ship of the group. Canada’s supply ship is to join the group.
Canada’s Prime Minister announced 6 RCAF CF-18 fighter jets from Quebec are to leave for Romania. Canada’s planes join a force of fighter Jets from Poland, the United Kingdom, Denmark and France to help police NATO air over the Baltic. NATO’s news service reports that Poland has MiG-29’s, four British Typhoon jets operating out of an airbase in Lithuania; the Danes have four F-16 jets operating in Estonia; the French have four Rafale jets operating out of Poland.
The Chinese news agency reported that America is calling on NATO nations to increase their spending. The article stated the top American envoy John Kerry has cautioned:
"We cannot continue to allow allied defense budgets to shrink…
"Clearly, not all allies are going to meet the NATO benchmark of two percent of GDP overnight or even next year, but it's time for allies who are below that level to make credible commitments to increase their spending on defense over the next five years."
The article went on to state:
"He once again alleged that Russia has taken "not one single step" to help to de-escalate tensions in eastern Ukraine but rather done to the contrary."
It was also reported by WND last week:
"Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said that as many as 10,000 U.S. troops could be deployed in Poland."
Europe’s Once Voice
This all sounds well and fine, but Obama’s administration doesn’t exactly have a good record of drawing red lines. Not only this but Europe is very afraid of any military action.
The New York Times reported on April 16th:
"Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and other leaders here have for weeks made it clear that they will go along with tougher sanctions, while cautioning behind closed doors that a serious rupture in business and other ties could take years to heal.
Germany depends on Russia for up to 40 percent of its natural gas.
Ms. Merkel and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia talked by telephone on Tuesday evening, according to statements from both governments. In Berlin, a government spokesman, Georg Streiter, underlined that the two leaders did not necessarily come to any meeting of the minds, let alone a shared assessment that Ukraine, as Mr. Putin was quoted as saying, verged on the brink of civil war."
Interestingly, the New York Times quoted German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Sawsan Chebli as stating:
“Europe speaks with one voice and is coordinating closely with the United States.”
This is spine chilling when you consider the words of Revelation 17:12-14,
“And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”
Right now the one mind has a clear statement, “we are afraid of the Russian bear!” As Revelation states, ultimately the alliance of Europe will be coordinating with the beast, ridden by the Harlot, and not with America.
The Bloomberg article cite earlier also quotes Chancellor Angea Merkel speaking in Aachen, Germany, the old capital of Charlemagne’s the Holy Roman Empire:
‘‘We in Europe are very much in agreement that a military resolution of the problems cannot happen, it’s not on the agenda. War is no solution, and so we have to find other ways.”
So if Putin knows that War is not on the agenda… what does he have to worry about. America cannot “go it alone” without Europe on European soil. The clouds of appeasement are blackening the skies of Europe once again.
In 1938, the lone voice of Winston Churchill rang out while the government of England claimed “Peace in our Time!” He said:
“And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.”
The Bible warns us that Europe is going to drink the cup, and fall under the authority of Russia. Churchill also stated of appeasement:
“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
Merkel is feeding the crocodile.
NATO will not intervene in Ukraine
For all its saber rattling, American appears to be impotent. A recent cartoon depicts President Putting with his angry Russian bear on a leash meeting President Obama who brings along a stuffed “Care Bear”.
Defense ministers from the EU’s 28 member states were briefed on the crisis in Ukraine by the bloc’s foreign policy chief as well as the head of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
The Chinese news agency CCTV reported:
Rasmussen called on Russia to pull its troops back from the Ukrainian border and to seek a political solution to the unrest, which he accused Russia of playing a key role in. "It’s very clear that Russia’s hand is deeply engaged in this," he said.
Rasmussen said the alliance would not intervene militarily in Ukraine, but would boost its presence in other eastern European countries and launch drills involving so called "EU battle-groups", which includes non-NATO members like Sweden and Finland.
Russia sees the aggression as being all American. Russia Today quoted Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov:
“Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation…. The only thing I would like to highlight at this stage is that the Russian troops are on the Russian territory…. There is no reason not to believe that the Americans are running the show in the most direct way.”
The stakes continue to be raised. There is real debate as to who is behind the problem in the Ukraine. One thing is for certain, the Russian Bear has been awakened from Hibernation, and it is a little on the grumpy side. Britain’s UKIP party leader Nigel Farage, in a debate with Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nicholas Clegg, stated:
“I don't support Putin... but if you poke the Russian bear with a stick he will respond”
Putin Calls Europe’s Bluff
Putin went a step further this past Thursday, demanding that Ukrainian soldiers vacate the eastern side of their own country. The Globe and Mail reported:
President Vladimir Putin of Russia told Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on Thursday that Ukraine must remove its military from the southeastern region of the country to resolve the showdown there with pro-Russian militants who have seized several official buildings, the Kremlin said.
“Putin emphasized that it was imperative today to withdraw all military units from the southeastern regions, stop the violence and immediately launch a broad national dialogue as part of the constitutional reform process involving all regions and political forces,” the Russian government said in a statement.
The issue Putin is citing is the presence of the Ukrainian special forces groups which he purports are about to begin campaign in the east. China Weekly reported Thursday:
"Moscow is seriously worried by media reports about the Kiev regime's plans to carry out a special assault operation in the southeastern regions of the country using ultra-nationalist Right Sector units," it said in a statement.
Calling the potential actions "irresponsible and aggressive," Russia said they would have catastrophic consequences if implemented.
The ministry urged Ukraine, together with the United States and the European Union, which signed the Geneva agreement on April 17, not to "make criminal mistakes and to soberly assess the gravity of possible consequences for the use of force against the Ukrainian people."
Fear is running rampant in Latvia, where American troops have been called in. ABC news reported:
Fear has spread across the region, prompting hundreds of American troops to be sent for joint training in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, where the fears of a Russian invasion are very real.
“You’ve seen what has occurred in Ukraine, Crimea, and so to them it’s a real, it’s a real threat,” said Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., the commanding general of the U.S. Army Europe.
The New Delhi TV news reported that Ukraine is reinstituting conscription to find enough troops to defend itself:
An increasingly desperate Ukraine on Thursday brought back military conscription with immediate effect as a spreading pro-Russian rebellion in the east threatened the ex-Soviet republic with disintegration.
The move, decreed by interim president Oleksandr Turchynov, came after insurgents tightened their grip over more than a dozen eastern cities and towns by seizing the state prosecutor's building in the regional hub city of Donetsk.
He also put Ukraine's current army of 130,000 on "full combat alert" because of fears an estimated 40,000 Russian troops massed on then border for the past two months could invade.
The Vatican’s End Game
In a desperate attempt to find support, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk visited Pope this week.
The Financial Times reported that during the visit,
Ukraine’s interim prime minister said on Thursday his country was entering its “most dangerous 10 days” since independence in 1991 and was struggling to counter pro-Russian separatists on the verge of taking over the industrialised eastern heartland.
The Vatican said in a statement that Francis and Yatsenyuk had discussed the "specific role" that religious organisations could play
"in fostering mutual respect and harmony… mention was made of possible further initiatives by the international community in this regard."
Not exactly a definitive statement with any real substance. The Pope told the Prime Minister he would “do everything possible” for the country.
What will that look like?
One must remember the record of the Vatican when it comes to world dictators. Cardinal Pacelli, later to become Pope Pius XII, signed a concordat with Nazi Germany because of a common enemy, Atheistic Communism. Pius XII remained silent throughout the war although he was fully aware of the Nazi Final Solution. In his Book Hitler’s Pope, John Cornwell captures the tragic terrible story of deadly silences and acquiescence. He states:
The Failure of Pacelli to take a lead in issuing a warning to the Jews of Europe, once the enormities were known, cannot be underestimated. The point has been summarized by Guenter Lewy:
“A public denunciation of the mass murders by Pius XII, broadcast widely over the Vatican radio and read from the pulpits by the bishops, would have revealed to Jews and Christians alike what deportation to the East entailed. The Pope would have been believed, whereas the broadcasts of the Allies were often shrugged off as war propaganda.” (p286)
The real issue for the Vatican during and after WWII was Communism. Pius was willing to give a lot of ground to Hitler to join forces against Communism. Cornell writes:
Yet for all Pacelli’s distaste for the explicit racism of National Socialism, his fears were overshadowed by the known aggression and goals of Communism in what the Vatican came to call the “Red Triangle” – Soviet Russia, Mexico, and, by 1933 Spain. The Holy See’s attitude toward Hitler was ambiguous: if it came to comparisons, the Nazis had not vowed to destroy Christianity; in fact, they had made soothing gestures toward the Catholic Church. From the Secretariat of State’s [Pacelli’s] view of the church in the world, the threat of Communism was an altogether different matter. (p112)
This week the Vatican has canonized two popes, John XXIII and John Paul II. John Paul II was the hero who brought down atheistic Soviet Communism. However, his goal wasn’t to bring down Russia. If anyone is looking for the Catholic Church to champion behind Ukraine like it did behind Poland, guess again.
The Christian Science Monitor gave its view of the present situation:
The Roman Catholic Church plays little role in this crisis for various reasons. It wields much less power today in Poland, evidenced by the brouhaha over a political declaration for the pope in parliament. Ukraine is predominantly Orthodox. And Russia is no longer atheist. Indeed, Putin has courted the Russian Orthodox Church. “There has been a need for some unifying ideology” in Russia, says Mark Elliot, the editor of the East-West Church and Ministry Report, and an expert on Russia and Ukrainian religion.
Who will the Vatican play to? Remember the words of Revelation:
17:1-2 “Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication…
18:3 “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, And the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, And the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.”
18:9 “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, Shall bewail her, and lament for her…”
18:23 “For thy merchants were the great men of the earth; For by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.”
So who are the “great men of the earth” today? Who is more likely to be wooed by the Harlot of Rome? America or Russia?
Does the Vatican want to woo a vacillating, red line drawing, muslimaphile, capitalist president who is waning in world power and popularity? Or would she be more excited by an autocratic dictator?
What is the track record of the suitors? Obama has visited the Vatican twice. Putin has made at least four official visits to the Vatican, visiting all three of Popes since John Paul II, not to mention Medvedev’s visits while Putin wore the Prime Minister’s hat.
The Vatican sees America as an ideological opponent. After all, the scriptures clearly tell us that the Vatican (the False Prophet), and Russia (the Dragon), will be part of the frog spirit trio, singing the virtues of liberty, equality and fraternity out of the same hymn book, joined of course by Europe (The Beast):
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. (Revelation 16:13)
The Pope has already marshaled his forces against America and in favor of Russia with regards to Syria. CTV news had reported on November 25, 2013:
During his audience with Francis, Putin thanked the pope for his September letter to the Group of 20 meeting in St. Petersburg, in which Francis urged world leaders to abandon the "futile pursuit" of a military solution in Syria and lamented what he said were one-sided interests that had prevented a diplomatic end to the conflict.
Francis mobilized hundreds of thousands of people around the globe to participate in a daylong fast and prayer for peace, as the U.S. threatened military strikes following an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus. Moscow opposed military intervention as well.
We all know what the end result of this was. America backed down, and Russia was triumphant. The Syrians were simply collateral damage in “The Great Game”.
The Vatican Insider reported on November 7, 2013 in an article entitled ‘Tsar Putin to pay a visit to Francis’:
With the open letter sent to Putin at the beginning of September, ahead of the G20 in St. Petersburg, the Bishop of Rome recognised Russia as a global player that cannot be left out of the search for solutions to existing conflicts and regional crises.
Putin had said in November of 2003 regarding potential visit of the Pope to Russia:
“The aim is not so much to ensure a visit by the Pope, but to promote unity among Christians.”
It is unlikely that the Vatican will come out in a scathing rebuke of Ukraine, but rather will continue to court them as an ally against American hegemony in Europe and the Middle East, just as it did Nazi German in the 1930’s.
Canada and the USA
Those who live in North America, and especially Canada should not sit back and suppose we are far away from the conflict. Yes, the Canadian anthem states, “Oh, Canada, We stand on guard for thee…” but the situation is spreading across the world. One must remember the NATO pact means that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on them all, at least in theory.
American youth are still required to register with the Selective Service System, which describes its mission as:
“to serve the emergency manpower needs of the Military by conscripting untrained manpower, or personnel with professional health care skills, if directed by Congress and the President in a national crisis.”
A European war could certainly trigger such a “national crisis”.
The Canada’s Globe and Mail reported the following:
As the situation in Ukraine continues to worsen, Canada is under increasing pressure to include the Arctic as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s strategy to counteract Russian aggression.
Recent events in Ukraine have evoked concern among NATO allies about Russia’s potential interest in expanding its borders. In a recent meeting of the Russian Security Council, Russian President Vladimir Putin highlighted the “special” place of the Arctic in Russia’s sphere of influence. Referring directly to Russia’s future Arctic strategy, Mr. Putin noted: “We need to take additional measures so as not to fall behind our partners, to maintain Russian influence in the region and, maybe in some areas, to be ahead of our partners.”
Russia is in the process of continuing its militarization of the Arctic and this week’s comments regarding Russia’s future Arctic interests are cause for concern.
Canada does not have conscription in place, and the War Measures Act cannot be used to invoke it. However, the “International Emergency Act” grants the government sweeping powers. It is defined in the act:
“international emergency” means an emergency involving Canada and one or more other countries that arises from acts of intimidation or coercion or the real or imminent use of serious force or violence and that is so serious as to be a national emergency.”
If invoked, basic rights are forfeited and the government is given:
“the authorization of or direction to any person, or any person of a class of persons, to render essential services of a type that that person, or a person of that class, is competent to provide…”
So as the world pot continues to boil, we must be diligent to put our own houses in order, and prepare to face whatever “time of testing” could confront us before our Lord returns.
For the Bible in the News, this has been Jonathan Bowen.
Tune in next week to bibleinthenews.com.