Sometimes I feel in tackling certain subjects I may bite off more than I can chew. Yet the subjects are so important and the links between various elements are so important that there may be a case at times to tread where angels fear to do so. “Globalism, Brexit, US Politics, the Middle East and Religion” is one such subject.
For once, when trying to get some working definitions, I found Wikipedia was disappointing. However, my first Internet hit in my search for definitions, was at least adequate. It gave me:
globalism: the operation or planning of economic and foreign policy on a global basis.
globalization: the process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale.
It seems to me that globalization is a fact of life and is ideologically neutral. In my lifetime something that appeared to be in its infancy is now all pervading. The fact that anyone, anywhere in the world could potentially pick up and respond to these thoughts once they have been added onto the Web, is a case in hand. Globalization can be a great leveler in a world of rich and poor countries, and it can both enrich and impoverish people. Globalism, in contrast, is an ideology that should not be confused with globalization. It is something some see as an overall good thing, given the opportunity it affords to exploit the benefits of globalization and bring together the world in peaceful co-existence and cooperation, but for others it is a bad.thing as it lends itself to powerful elites tyrannizing the people. Good or bad (or in-between), the relentless move to globalism cannot be ignored and is what I want to discuss.
In keeping with my approach to understanding what is going on in the world and coming to a “view”, I am constrained by my theological beliefs and biblical understanding. I see two stand out globalist pictures in the Bible, one toward the beginning and one toward the end, and both seen in a negative light. In the “beginning” example, we have the nations of the world coming together and building a tower (Babel), a symbol of autonomy, and God coming down and destroying the tower and scattering the people. In the “end” example, we see a one world government, led by the AntiChrist, and in opposition the purpose and people of God, and that too was overthrown by God, a little prior to Christ returning.
In the In/Out (of the EU) debate, earlier in the year, I was mindful of my early mentors who looked upon the Common Market (even before the UK joined it) with suspicion, because of what they saw as a globalist tendency. Many equated the Common Market to the 10 kings prophecy in the book of Daniel (ch. 7), the very group that supported the AntiChrist in his rise to power and therefore a bad thing. These many years on, few would argue that the EU which it was to become is far more than a free trade platform but rather a means to put the EU above nation states in terms of that which governs the lives of those living in the EU. It was this tendency rather than concerns over immigration that led me to voting Brexit. Considering the aftermath of the leave vote, I have no doubt, despite the reservations of many who can point to all sorts of gloom, that the right decision was reached and the UK will be better off out than in.
It seems to me that the antithesis of globalism is nationalism (advocacy of political independence for a particular country) although some, especially those who favour globalism over nationalism, would give an alternative definition: “an extreme form of patriotism marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries” and often even those nationalists who are outward looking and do look critically upon their own country are thus caricatured and ridiculed, and accused of being xenophobic. Going by the differences indicated in the above image, and with respect to the US Presidential debate that is currently going on, when comparing the policies of the two main candidates, it is evident that Trump is more nationalist and Clinton more globalist.
This is relevant considering the world stage. Like many thinking through issues happening around the globe, especially the Middle East, I do so with consternation, trying to figure out what is going on, why it is going on, what should be the correct response and the consequences (as dire as we are heading toward World War 3) of the incorrect response. Here the globalist versus nationalist debate is pertinent. As I consider how this impacts, I am mindful of unproven, albeit relevant, conspiracy theories, and various protagonists in and observers of these conflicts will all have their own views.
The conflicts taking place around places like Aleppo (Syria) and Mosul (Iraq) not only have huge political and balance of power ramifications but have led to humanitarian disasters. The media which already is only barely reporting these matters has hardly touched on the conflict in the Yemen. But for the fact 100 Labour MPs refused to back its leader in condemning UK support in terms in arming the Saudis against the rebels, we might not even be aware of the situation which is unraveling. Not to be forgotten is the part Israel plays and is going to play in all these matters. I have no doubt it will become a major player as we enter the “end game”.
It is strange that not long ago we (the British public) were being sold the narrative that as far as Syria goes the aim must be to get rid of the Assad regime given its human rights abuses and support the rebels. The rise of Isis served to put a spanner in the works. Now we see the Syrian situation more in terms of it being a stand off between a US globalist coalition and the nationalistically minded Russians, both seeking to advance their interests in the region. As for Isis, serious doubt is now being thrown on the part the Americans have played in its rise to power. While many other factors come into play in the Trump / Clinton stand off, the seriousness of what is going on means what is happening in the Middle East, not to forget Iran either, cannot be discounted in trying to reach a view.
When it comes to nationalism versus globalism, besides the theological perspective, the idea of a barely accountable, rich and powerful elite, led by bankers, financiers and politicians, quite willing to crush any, including by use of force, that stands in its way, fills me with more than a degree of trepidation. While I prefer nationalism of the type that looks after its people, especially the poor and vulnerable, including the foreigner in its midst, seeking a peaceful co-existence with its foreign neighbours, I doubt whether such entirely exists. I have no doubt that the move toward globalism will continue to grow along with the technological advances that make it possible, with things like climate change acting as a spur.
As for eschatology, I am ambivalent when it comes to attributing Bible prophecy to current events and figures, mindful how my spiritual forefathers have often come undone when attempting to do so. I do, however, believe there will be a one world government, and it will be tyrannical. I do not advocate theocracy. The only one that worked for a period was that which applied to ancient Israel. I do believe, as a citizen of the world as well as heaven, I should take interest in such matters and be about preaching and practicing the gospel of the Kingdom. I know I must put my trust in God, who acts in judgement but also mercy. This is also a day of opportunity, and God in his mercy has entrusted to the Church the keys of the Kingdom and it is beholden on them to proclaim the gospel of that Kingdom. The Kingdom I look forward to is that in which Christ, the soon to appear King of kings, will return to Earth to reign in righteousness and justice. Like many, I pray: “Thy Kingdom come”.