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This week the news was full of significant events, some very frightening such as the nuclear tests conducted by North Korea which have emphasized the time we live in as a time when men’s hearts fail them for fear.
We want to focus this week on the G20 Summit, the relationship between Britain and the US and Russia.
Britain Developing Relationship with America following Brexit.
The re-alignment of the young lions was seen with the meeting of British Prime Minister Teresa May with US President Barak Obama at the G20 Summit in China. Following this a press conference was held where Obama commented on his meeting with Teresa May:
It was a wide-ranging conversation, but it began with the basic premise that even as the UK peruses an orderly exit from the EU, together we re-affirm the very special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, it will not simply endure, but it will continue grow stronger with time. The vibrant economic partnership between our countries will continue, as the UK gains further clarity on its new relationship with the EU. Our two countries will be discussing ways in which we continue to sustain and investment ties. Here at the G20 we will continue to pursue an agenda of inclusive and sustainable growth.
When it comes to security issues, under Prime Minister May, the UK has reaffirmed its strong commitment to the Trans-Atlantic security architecture. We are NATO allies, we see the world in the same way. We will continue to oppose Russian aggression in the Ukraine, we continue to counter cyber threats, we will continue to work diligently to root out terrorist networks, and we will work to destroy ISIL….
We will continue to count on being able to stand together, stand strong with our British friends, to make sure that international norms and rules are enforced and are maintained. The bottom-line is that we don’t have a stronger partner anywhere in the world than the United Kingdom. Despite the turbulence of political events of the past several months, we have every intention to making sure that that continues….
This is specifically significant, as it echo’s the langue of Ezekiel 38, looking forward to the future invasion of Israel, when Britain (Tarshish) and America (along with the rest of the young lions) will protest the change in international norms when Russia invades Israel:
“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:13)
British Prime Minister Teresa May went on to confirm the special relationship Britain has with the United States:
As you say, the Unite States is a special partner for the United Kingdom, a long standing allies and a
close friend. We share the same values of freedom, openness and tolerance, we share intelligence and technology, our troops train, fight and recuperate together. Together, we do more together than any other two countries in the world. I think that is more true now than it has ever been….
First we have talked about Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, the process now, and what BREXIT means for the UK’s relationship with our European friends, but with other countries too. The UK has always been a strong partner for the US and that will remain the case. We have a thriving economic relationship. British business export twice as much to the United states as they do to our next largest market, and the United States is the largest inward investor in Britain with total American investments providing more than 1 million jobs. We need to build on that strong foundation as the UK leaves the EU. We are both strong supporters of free trade. Today, we’ve discussed how to take forward consultations to ensure that the UK and the US have the strongest possible trading relationship. This reinforces my belief, that as we forge a new global role for the UK, we can and will seize the opportunities that BREXIT presents, and make a success of it.
May went on to discuss the joint efforts of the US and UK in creating stability in the Middle East and the alliances relationship with Russia.
In the question session that followed, reporters asked the Prime Minister if BREXIT really meant BREXIT, and about the relationship with the US, and May’s response was clear:
And on the question you asked me about BREXIT, yes BREXIT does indeed mean BREXIT. On the 23rd of June, the people in the UK vote for the UK to leave the European Union, the government respects that decision, we respect the wishes of the people, and we will put that into practice. There will be no second referendum, no attempt to turn the clock back, no attempt to get out of this, the UK will be leaving the European Union….
On the first point that you’ve raised… we’ve had discussions on the importance of the trading relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States. As you know I have been very clear, following BREXIT we will be looking to Establish new trading relationships around the globe, I think there are real opportunities for the United Kingdom, I think we will be going out and seizing those opportunities. But, we have a very strong… as I indicated from my own statement with some of the figures that I gave, we have a very strong trading relationship with the United States, and we will be looking to ensure we can maintain that strongest-possible relationship into the future…
The development of the relationship between the UK and the US was also highlighted this week by the US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in a speech he gave at the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford, where he stated:
I’d like to speak with you about the steps that our alliance, our special relationship, is taking to continue to stand up for the principles and values that have for decades have made all of us safer, freer, more prosperous…. During the cold war we stood together to confront a global adversary intent on autocracy and dominion. After we succeeded, we helped bring East and West together again…
We stood together to help make and keep the peace in the Balkans. We stood and responded together in the face of terror, 15 years ago after 9-11 and 11 years ago after the 7-7 bombings, fighting side by side in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We’ve continued to do so…
And because of all we have done together our people, our two nations, and people around the world have benefitted over these past 75 years. The world has become more prosperous and dynamic as a result. All that that change, economic, political, military, social, technological, personal, national, regional, global, has produced many opportunities for both our nations, but it has also created challenges and crisis as well.
Of course here in Europe, the United States is standing with the United Kingdom and America’s NATO allies in taking a strong and balanced approached to deter Russian aggression….
With all the change in the world the inherent logic of our countries’ special relationship still stands. That was true the day before the BREXIT vote, and it is true today after the BREXIT vote. The United States respects the decision of the British People, and we are committed to partner together in the months and the years ahead. While I said before the vote, that I wished it would go the other way, I am confident the US and the UK will now focus on the future, and that is what I am doing….
We see that in the ambitious and forward-looking strategic defense and security review conducted by the UK Government last year, which has quickly progressed to the implementation phase. We see it in the coming modernization in the United Kingdom’s continuous at-sea deterrent – in maritime patrol aircraft and attack helicopters, to make clear that the British military will continue to be among the most capable in the world…
It is interesting that Mr. Carter re-affirmed Britain and America’s efforts to work together. He highlighted Britain’s role as an “at sea-deterrent” and naval power. This speaks to the picture the scriptures paint of Britain and the USA, the merchants of Ezekiel 38, being the maritime power described Ezekiel 27:25 and Isaiah 60:9:
“Surely the isles shall wait for me, And the ships of Tarshish first, To bring thy sons from far, Their silver and their gold with them, Unto the name of the LORD thy God, And to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.” (Isaiah 60:9)
The Rising Russian Threat to be countered jointly by the USA and Britain
Bible prophecy students have been reading Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Zechariah and other prophecies and concluded that Russia’s aggressive rise is inevitable. The news this week has captured a growing concern from US officials in respect to Russia’s growing aggression. In the same speech, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter went on to highlight the threat Russia poses to the world today:
States like Russia, are trying to play by their own rules, undercutting the principles that have benefited their own country and the rest of the world. None of these actors can overturn the international order completely, but they are intent on undermining its cohesion, questioning its effectiveness and assailing its legitimacy….
Despite the progress that we made together in the aftermath of the Cold War, Russia’s actions in recent years, its violation of Ukrainian and Georgian territorial integrity, its unprofessional behavior in the air, space, and cyberspace; as well as its nuclear sabre-rattling, all have demonstrated that Russia has clear ambition to erode the principled international order, that has served the United States, its allies and partners, the international community, and, in fact, Russia itself, so well. As it does so, Russia appears driven by a misguided ambition and misplaced fear. Russia wants to be considered, and very understandably, as the important world power it is, one of historic importance. Unfortunately, its tendency is to peruse that goal by undercutting the work and contribution of others, rather than by creating or making positive contributions of its own; sows instability rather than cultivating stability; lashes out alleging that it fears for its own viability and future, even though no nation, not the United States, not the United Kingdom seeks to defeat it or constrain its potential. Just the opposite: we’ve all expressed an interest in being able to work more closely with Russia.”
This view of Russia aligns with the picture painted in Ezekiel 38 where it describes an aggressive power intent on aggressive expansion into the Middle East:
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.” (Ezekiel 38:10–12)
Carter went on to describe how America and its allies are tooling up to face Russia down, even though they don’t really want to:
In response to this behavior the United States is taking a strong and balance approach to address Russia’s actions and deter Russian aggression against our allies. We are strengthening our capabilities, our posture, our investments, our plans, and our allies and partners, all the while keeping the door open to working with Russia wherever and whenever our interests align.
Let me be clear: the United States does not seek a cold, let alone a hot war with Russia. We don’t seek an enemy in Russia. But also make no mistake, we will defend our allies, the principled international order, and the positive future it affords us. We will counter attempts to undermine our collective security, and will not ignore attempts to undermine our democratic processes.
This also speaks clear to the words of Joel where the nations coming off a time of peace tool up for war once again:
“Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, And your pruninghooks into spears: Let the weak say, I am strong.” (Joel 3:9–10)
It is also fascinating that he spoke about a change in policy from the past 20 years in trying to deter Russia:
Now we haven’t had to prioritize deterrence in trans-Atlantic communities’ eastern flank for over 25 years, but unfortunately now we do.
Carter went on to describe how the US has tripled its budget for containing Russia in Europe. NATO has also re-written its policy book for dealing with Russia.
Carter finished his speech by stating:
For decades, the United States and the United Kingdom, and millions of American and British service members have helped provide the security and uphold the values that have allowed millions upon millions of people around the world to be safe, to raise their children, to dream their dreams, to live lives that are full, and to contribute to the civilization that you see all around you here in this city. In a time of change, and in a time of challenges to what our two nations have built and defended, we have to continue to do so together. As we do, we must not be afraid of change, or intimidated at the challenge, or doubtful of our capacity to meet it.
So as we continue to watch the realignment of nations following the BREXIT vote, we can see the hand of the angels moving the nations into the role predicted in the scriptures. We can have confidence that what our God has promised he will perform.
For the Bible in the News, this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.
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