The Truckers and Ukrai
As I write this, the Freedom Convoy of Canadian truckers has been disbanded, many arrested, and the Canadian government is now hunting down those who participated to arrest them and seize their property. This may look like a defeat, but it was a remarkable victory for the truckers. They held out longer than anyone expected and became an inspiration to freedom loving people around the world. Now, U.S. truckers are forming their own Freedom Convoy. This is far from over.
At the same time, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looked like a cruel dictator using totalitarian methods to attack the same truckers who recently became heroes of the pandemic by keeping supplies moving to their fellow countrymen at great risk to themselves. Trudeau may have picked the worst possible enemy. Even if a small percentage of truckers unite, they could shut down not just a city or a few bridges, but the entire country with their countrymen cheering them on.
As I write, the invasion of Ukraine is in its fifth day, and Russian forces are yet to take any of its major objectives, only a few small cities. This is a huge setback for Vladimir Putin who expected the entire campaign to last 48 hours. Now it seems the entire able population of Ukraine is mobilized to fight its Russian invaders. In the eyes of the world, they have gone from not having a chance, to having a real chance to repel this invasion. Ukraine’s courage, resolve, and willingness to sacrifice have gained it respect around the world.
At the same time, Putin is losing what international respect he had. Every day, he looks more like an increasingly desperate and irrational tyrant who takes increasingly desperate and irrational measures, like putting his nuclear forces on high alert. Now even if Russia can subdue Ukraine, it will have lost much more than it gained. As the U.S. learned in Iraq, conquering a country is much easier than occupying it. Even if Russia takes the major cities of Ukraine, it could be the beginning of an insurgence that never quits.
Putin’s ominous nuclear threat has shocked the world. It makes him look like a desperate madman who has his finger on the trigger of a huge Russian nuclear arsenal. The U.S. and France quickly called for all their citizens to immediately leave Russia. With such actions, it is unlikely Putin’s reputation will ever be rehabilitated. If he stays in power, this escapade will make Russia the outcast of the world. What a tragedy. Russia is a great nation with great people who have had some of the world’s worst leaders for far, too long.
Like the rest of the world, the Russian people and even Russian troops seem appalled by this attack on Ukraine. The Russian troops were told they were going to Ukraine to be “peacekeepers” and the people of Ukraine would welcome them. They were shocked and unprepared for the heroic resistance they have met. Though conditions can change fast, at present, the Russian advance has bogged down, and Putin seems to be deteriorating into madness and nervously fingering his nuclear option.
If this all seems impossible to sort out, it is. We have cascaded into troubles beyond human remedy. Here’s a NEWS FLASH: we have always been in that place! Thankfully, we have a merciful, gracious God Who keeps saving us from destroying ourselves and our planet. He has also given us His sure word that He will not let us destroy this earth but will intervene and save us. On that great judgment day, we will likely be shocked to learn how many times He has already saved us before “the big one.â€
As Americans, I don’t think we should gloat over being in a better place than Russia right now. Speaking of madness, FEMA just issued a warning saying, if we are faced with a nuclear blast, we should be sure to put on our masks! If that wasn’t crazy enough, they then gave instructions to call 911! Then reiterated, before emergency personnel arrive, be sure to put on our masks. Seriously?
Obviously some on our own side have also gone mad. If you do experience a nuclear blast and still have a face, don’t waste your time looking for a mask or calling 911. You can be confident, if they don’t already know there has been a nuclear blast, they won’t be much help to you either.
This brings us to another crisis. In the middle of what may be the most dangerous crisis the world has yet faced, America, still the most powerful nation in the world, is being led by the weakest, most eccentric, inept, out-of-touch administration in our lifetime and possibly ever. In this crisis, it has led from behind, and even the positive things it has done were at the suggestion of other nations.
We have not provided the kind of wise, transcendent leadership the world so desperately needs to navigate through these troubling times. After the humiliating Afghanistan debacle, we thought nothing could get worse. As President Barack Obama once reportedly said to an aid, “Never underestimate Joe’s ability to ____ things up.â€ The hits just keep coming!
On day one of his administration, Biden canceled the Keystone pipeline and canceled all energy drilling on federal land. In one day, he canceled the energy independence America had sought for decades and made us and our allies dependent on Russia for energy. Every day now, America imports more than half a million barrels of Russian oil. This deprived us of any leverage that could have prevented the Russian attack on Ukraine and has led us into perhaps the most dangerous crisis we have yet faced.
The Real Nuclear Threat
Why would Putin put his nuclear forces on “high alertâ€? It is Russian military doctrine to use tactical nuclear weapons when faced with impenetrable resistanceâ€”exactly what they are facing in Ukraine. Thus, it should not surprise us he would do so for the breakthroughs he now desperately needs.
Then there is the ominous threat of the Russian-seized Chernobyl nuclear plant, site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. This was one of Russia’s first objectives and captures in Ukraine. What could they possibly want with this dangerous nuclear plant which has been shut down for decades?
Chernobyl has four reactors which must still be maintained to prevent meltdown and create another possibly worse nuclear disaster. The crews that maintained those reactors left when Russian troops attacked. If these reactors melt down, not only would Kyiv and much of Ukraine be in danger, but also much of Europe, Western Russia, Belarus, and to some extent, every country in the world.
In short, millions of people are right now in very real jeopardy of perhaps the biggest nuclear attack ever conceived. A dirty nuclear bomb does not kill with merely an explosion but with nuclear contamination. This could not only take millions of lives in a most painful, dreadful way, but also make a large part of Europe uninhabitable.
In one day, the Russian Ruble lost 30% of its value. That means the Russian people had 30% inflation in one day. There is a very real danger that, by the end of this week, the ruble will be worthless. A run on the banks for Russians to take what money they have before it becomes worthless is already happening. The Russian stock market is closed, so people can neither sell their holdings nor take profits from them.
The Russian people know this is Putin’s doing. Today, thousands were arrested for demonstrating. This is considered treason by the present Russian government and carries a minimum 20-year prison sentence. Six thousand were arrested in St. Petersburg alone. Obviously, an increasing number of Russian citizens are willing to risk ruining their lives to express dismay for what Putin is doing to his country.
Perhaps the most important question now is if Putin can remain the Russian leader. If not, who will take his place? If another hardliner takes his place, does he continue the attack on Ukraine? Are all worse-case scenarios still on the table? The best-case scenario for Russia, Ukraine, and the world would be for a statesman of uncommon wisdom and reason to emerge, halt the Ukraine invasion, and deescalate the nuclear threats in every possible way. But is there such a leader in Russia?
What we are likely looking at, if we can get through this week, is one of two things. Putin could come to his senses and become a new, reasonable leader who will take the required measures to reverse this meltdown now happening to his country. He could still bring the world back from the edge of disaster he brought on the world. At this writing, there is nothing to indicate he will do this.
What is more likely, if Putin is removed from power, is that a more moderate, reasonable leader will take his place who can at least begin to rebuild the world’s trust in Russia. Of course, at this point, this is all speculation. However, we should pray for the best while preparing for the worst. How can we do this?
Every new crisis the world experiences seems worse than the last. The nuclear catastrophe we are on the edge of right now could make the world look back on “the good ole days of World War IIâ€ or “the good ole days of COVID.â€ In other words, the worst-case scenario is worse than anything the world has yet experienced, while the best-case scenario still brings much trouble on the world. What has already transpired is so disruptive, it will not be easy for the world to find its equilibrium again.
The symbol of Russia is a bear, and you don’t corner a bear without great risk of danger. The Russian Bear is being pushed into an increasingly tight corner by the day. We are commanded in Scripture to pray for our leaders, and if there was ever a time to do this, it is now. We should be praying for Putin and any leaders close to him, as well as all others engaged in this crisis. We need to pray for all of them to have wisdom and wise counselors and to see a way to make peace.
Countries not directly involved in this war are not likely to experience the 30% inflation like Russia did today, but inflation everywhere is soon likely to hit levels never experienced by most of the world.
At present, Biden is not willing to change his energy policy which has caused the debilitating inflation America already experiences. He is still adhering to the radical “Green New Dealâ€ which could in itself impoverish the nation, while weakening us to the point we cannot confront other rogue leaders who wish to make trouble for the world. We need to pray with desperation for wise, decisive, and courageous leadership to arise in America. We are still the strongest nation in the world and can still lead the world when we have good leaders.
The Scripture repeatedly states that good leaders are the favor of God on a nation that seeks Him. America was once such a nation, perhaps the greatest God-loving nation in history, but for more than half a century we have basically been trying to kick God out of our country. The biblical judgment on nations that knew Him but turned from Him and started “calling good evil, and evil goodâ€ is to have “capricious children as their leadersâ€ (see Isaiah chapters 1-5). We are there now. Our next and most important move is to turn back to the God who shed His grace on us and beg Him to return to our country. One of the great promises of God in Scripture is II Chronicles 7:14:
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
As the world so quickly descends into crises in virtually every field beyond human remedy, never forget that nothing is impossible with God. He can fix the present trauma to where all parties come out better than ever. However, He has also made it clear He will not intervene unless we ask Him. He said, “the heavens are the Lord’s, but the earth He has given to the children of menâ€ (see Psalm 115:16).
So, what will we do with the earth He entrusted to our care? I think we should return to the One Who made it and never try to run the world again without Him!