2017 – looking back; 2018 – looking forward (1)

Often around the end of the year, in the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day, some (maybe many) look back on the past year and forward to the year that is to come. That is what I intend to do in my latest offering to the blogosphere, and in two parts – this post focusing on reflecting on happenings in the year about to end, and then to consider what might happen in the year about to begin.

I want first though to add three caveats. Firstly, while some will approach the task I want to tackle from a primarily personal perspective, i.e. as relates to things going on in one’s own life and to one’s own circumstances and hopes and aspirations, I intend to play down that aspect and try, probably not entirely successfully, to be detached, given the reality is those things that matter most and which affects the lives of many might appear to have little to do with me personally. Secondly, I look upon world events mindful of my past zealous religious past when my mentors took comfort that while they were temporary sojourners upon earth their citizenship was in heaven and since they could do little to affect the craziness of what took place all around them (other than saving souls, working hard and doing good when it was in their power to do so) they really needed to focus their energies preparing for the world to come. Later I changed that stance and while still doing the stuff my early mentors had said I ought to be doing, I took special interest in what is happening around me and wading in with my two penneth, trying not always successfully to venture into a sometimes unsympathetic world to make a difference. While I still see the Kingdom of God happening when Christ personally reigns, I see no contradiction in trying to impress upon the general populace the importance of embracing kingdom values, despite recognizing this may be an impossible dream, UNLESS the hearts of men change – bringing me back to my roots. My third caveat is as a student of scripture and pertinently end time events. Many Christians, including those closest theologically, do not share my passion for the subject and do not go along with my take on yet to be fulfilled prophecy. But it is this that provides a setting for how I view world events.

I was born too late to have experienced World War 2, although I was affected by the after math. If I had, I would likely agree with my forefathers that those were particularly momentous times. Looking back over the years though, I reckon I have lived through momentous times and no doubt other generations before me might make similar claims. But regarding 2017, I sense this has been a particularly momentous year and it leaves me wondering what 2018 has in store for us. While I may venture some predictions on the subject in my next article, I fully expect there to be surprises. Admittedly, I make such assertions based as much on gut feel as irrefutable hard evidence. Before ending this article I want to say why I think this to be so. Firstly, I need to go through what has been happening in the year just gone, acknowledging my own preferences and prejudices. I am far from having the complete picture and that as a conservative leaning Christian, living relatively comfortably in the UK, the lens through which I view the world and decide what is significant, is maybe a lot different to others differently placed.

It is difficult to know where to begin given so much has happened in the past year, and I fear I will not give justice to all the significant happenings. Two things that happened in 2016 had widespread ramifications in 2017, on both national and international stages and because these had significant bearing on events. These are the British people, against most predictions, voting in the EU Referendum to leave, and not long after the American people, also against most predictions, voting in Trump to become President of the USA. Initially I saw the two events as unrelated but since came to see they are very much related and common factors include the rise of populism and sense of national identity and a resistance to an establishment perceived to be corrupt and not having the best interests of the people at heart and to a globalist agenda that will further take power away from the people and place it into the hands of the global elite. While popularism may take opposite forms e.g. leftwards rather than rightwards in the case of UK’s Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, attracting unexpected support, it is evident this is on the rise in many countries, fearing among other things the threat posed by Islamic immigration and reacting against the loss of national sovereignty. Even in countries like the two EU leading lights, France and Germany, globalist types like Macron and Merkel while “winning” saw their far right leaning opponents receive unexpected significant support during their national elections.

Both Brexit and a Trump presidency had a profound affect on what transpired during 2017, including my falling out with a number of friends and acquaintances on these matters. Because of the issues raised, I felt it was right to stand my ground. I have argued Brexit was the right decision, although recognizing the challenges, and that Trump was good for America and the world in general, although far from perfect. My reasoning is included in my Brexit and Trump related articles. I had rather hoped that having allowed the people to decide whether the UK should remain in the EU or leave it that is what would happen and without undue delay. That is not what has happened as the government has dragged its feet and acceded to EU demands that many including me felt needed to be resisted. It has put to the background much else that is of consequence, including reoccurring crisis in the NHS and how to tackle a plethora of social justice issues, including one that touches on my own work: that of homelessness. The calling of a snap General Election was a gamble that did not come off and while Theresa May’s Conservatives won more seats than anyone else, they lost their overall majority. It seems that there is a dearth in leadership and besides not convincing regarding Brexit, they failed to convince in other areas.

I would say that 2016 and to a larger extent 2017 is the time people have begun to wake up. Dissatisfaction with the government in power is nothing new but the alternatives have also failed to convince and this applies in the US and the UK and also elsewhere in Western democracies. In my Trump mad, bad or good e-book I have argued Trump is more good than mad or bad by a long shot. I really see under Trump the swamp being drained, right decisions being made both at home and further afield, a strong economy and support for issues like religious freedom, but this does not give him a free pass. The matter of the environment is still concerning as is the rich poor divide. What is bothersome is rather than unite a nation the nation appears even more divided, led by powerful forces aided by sections of the popular vote wanting Trump removed one way or another. He is up against mainstream media, leading figures in the Republican and Democrat parties, never Trumpers in his government, the Deep State, vested interests etc. Whether or not he will be taken out in 2018 is interesting speculation, but I reckon having sparked a revolution it will continue, regardless whether or not it is Trump who is steering the ship of state.

This leads me to the vexed subject of the World at large. In the past year I have speculated whether or not we are on the brink of World War 3, with countries like North Korea flexing its muscle and threatening nuclear attack. While the threat has died down it has not gone away and developments in 2018 are likely, including military conflict. The vying for power and international dominance between USA, Russia and China is evident. Whether Russia should be seen as America’s enemy is a moot point and a controversial one in the light of the Mueller investigation and the resurgence of the notion being widely promoted that Russia is once again America’s bogey man. I sense Trump, surrounded as he is by neocons who want conflict with Russia, will be faced with tough decisions as to how to responf but my gut says he should avoid getting involved e.g. in Syria (one of the potential hot spots for US / Russia stand off) when it isn’t necessary. I felt Trump made good and bad decisions concerning Syria and this is an area to watch. I would hope a similar position be taken with China, perhaps the dark horse as a major force in the world. One can envisage all sorts of unpredictable events, including false flag attacks that may heighten tensions, including making war.

The most intriguing aspect of what is happening on the world stage concerns the Middle East, with all sorts of things happening that few can fathom in terms of significance and doing the right thing:

  1. The USA switching its support away from Iran and toward Saudi and the ramifications for the region
  2. The demise of ISIS (begging the question what next)
  3. Various challenges around the state of Syria and how it is to be governed
  4. The rise of Turkey and its aspirations for Islamic dominance
  5. USA support for Israel e.g. recognizing the importance of Jerusalem
  6. Israel still a major power and key player, and subject to wide scale opposition
  7. The Palestinian conundrum (pawns, hysteria, injustice are all words that spring to mind)
  8. The Yemen problem
  9. What to do about failed states: Libya, Iraq etc.
  10. The migrant crisis

There are many other happenings during 2017 that merit a mention:

  1. High level people brought to task for sexual misconduct and worse, including pedophilia
  2. The number and extent of natural disasters that have occurred all round the world
  3. The ongoing issue of climate change and what is to be done
  4. Venezuela: economic disaster
  5. Myanmar’s Rohingyas: ‘genocide’
  6. Catalonia: autonomy suspended
  7. Zimbabwe: Mugabe falls
  8. The rise of nationalism in former Communist countries
  9. The continual rise of Islam
  10. A shaking in the church (widespread persecution, doctrinal error and spiritual renewal)

The above are significant subjects occupying us in 2017. In a word, it can be seen as scary. I write when many have just celebrated the Prince of Peace coming into the world. It is in Him we must trust.

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