One of the things I have not done enough of in my short blog writing career is to reflect on things happening outside my own neck of the woods or areas of personal, particular interest, something I have done a bit of but nowhere near as much as I would have liked. Given that this narrow focus is likely true for most people, and checking out other blogs I reckon I do better than most, some might say I need not feel too bad, but I do since my great aim is to reflect on things going on around me that matter. There is a lot that fits the bill outside this parochial unintentional criteria I have been following.
As I was reflecting on this matter, I stumbled across an article in today’s Guardian with the title: “At the start of 2015, the world remains full of open wounds and crises“, which begins: “From Libya’s chaos to Russia’s geopolitical ambitions, the new year will be full of problems that are difficult to disentangle. Some crises are familiar or have gone on for years, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iran nuclear conundrum or Syria’s devastating civil war. Others are of a more surprising nature, or at least would have been difficult to predict at the outset of 2014. Who would have guessed, a year ago, that Russia would annex Crimea? Or that global oil prices would fall by 40%? Or that North Korea would cyber-attack Sony?“. There is plenty in what followed from which I could make a number of blog posts but the challenge is to say something fresh and relevant based on understanding.
For some weeks now, I have been reading snippets of news that involve Russia, such as the snub G20 leaders recently gave to President Putin, that was largely ignored or not depending who you believe, over Russians intrusive involvement in the Ukraine, that at worst is reminiscent of what happened under Nazi Germany in the 1930’s when the Nazis took over surrounding territories and only when Poland was invaded did the Allies decide to declare war or,if Russia’s leaders are to be believed, with more benevolent aims. Something similar happening here is nigh unthinkable but tensions are readily discernible both in the West and in Russia, with understandably quite different interpretations, and of course the Ukraine whose sovereignty appears to be rather tenuous at this time. Even stories such as the attack on Ukraine’s Evangelical Christians by members of a pro-Russian, supposedly Orthodox leaning separatist movement are a concern and also ironic given the state sponsored atheism that prevailed in Russian in the recent past. Some of the history as to why different parts of the Ukraine support or don’t support Russian influence is fascinating and is one of the many loose ends I need to tie up before writing authoritatively, as are the social, political and economic ambitions of Russia and those countries, including my own, that are opposed to Russian muscle flexing and, while opposition is fairly inept, the West do make noises and impose sanctions of a sort, aided by a falling oil price.
One of the reasons why Russia have attracted my attention more than happenings in countries like Libya and Nigeria, mentioned in the Guardian report, is that I grew up during the time of the Cold War, which was already in full swing before I even appeared on the scene and carried on well into my adulthood. One of the great scares during my growing up period was that of nuclear war and the threat of annihilation of whole nations, although nowadays the threat has shifted with nations like Iran and North Korea having nuclear capabilities. While nowhere near as anti-communist as the USA, for example when the McCarthy anti-communist witch hunts dominated for a period in that country, I do recall that most around me and the propaganda machine I was mostly exposed to here in the UK, were fairly anti-Russia, and for good reason, for example the millions who were sacrificed under Stalin for not towing the state line, the rather brutal way it filled the vacuum in Eastern Europe left by the defeat of Nazism and for my right wing leaning friends a good example of why a country that came under a tight state control could never flourish economically or otherwise. The fall of communism, the dissolving of the former USSR and the individual USSR satellite countries becoming democratic, and even becoming members of the European Union, and even Russia moving toward democracy, is something now widely looked upon as having happened in the distant past.
But given the perceived and actual threat posed by Russia, with its expansionist and nationalist aspirations and contempt for the West, if western leaders and pundits are to believed, things are far from being on an even keel and is something that must be considered as we survey the world in which we live. Whether or not we choose to wake up to these facts before the effects of what is taking place are clearly seen, these things do and will impact us. How to respond to such a world is the big question as is how this fits in with the unraveling of end time Biblical prophecy that very much includes the land of Israel and the rise of Islam as well as new power bases, led by China – all of which needs to wait for further blog postings.