Friday, July 12, 2013

Another Sea Gate Threatened?

An interesting article from about Indonesia. This follows this post about widows and orphans. This follows this post about Scotland pulling out of the United Kingdom. For a free magazine subscription or to get the book shown for free click HERE! or call 1-888-886-8632.

article by Darris McNeely

Shipping lanes off Indonesia may seem irrelevant to the West. But at stake is part of an ancient promise to Abraham that his seed would possess the "gates of their enemies."

Events in the South Pacific may seem irrelevant to the West, but could bring significant changes affecting both American naval influence and continued freedom of shipping through a critical world sea passage.

Not long ago the United States turned over the Panama Canal to the Republic of Panama, thus relinquishing control of a major passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific shipping lanes. Many observers saw little significance behind this event, since today's Internet-dominated global economy seems little impacted by ocean-borne commerce. One pundit commented, "Windows 2000 travels over the Internet not on the deck of a ship."

Now, another vital sea passage in an increasingly unsettled region of the world could come under the control of powers with different views than those of Western nations.

A strategic Asian passage

The Strait of Malacca is one of the world's crucial strategic choke points. Many experts consider it a vulnerable objective of any hostile power seeking regional control and influence upon the Western economies.

The Strait of Malacca is a narrow waterway between Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Virtually all commercial sea traffic between the Far East and Europe, the Middle East and India passes through the Strait. All fuel and gas shipments purchased from the Persian Gulf for the Far East pass through there. Moreover, Singapore-the regional commercial and communication center, and a key port, lies at the eastern mouth of the Strait.

Today more than 60,000 ships a year pass through the Strait. Within four years that number could go as high as 100,000-thus showing the need for regional stability to insure free passage for ships of all nations. Yet, the region has historically been plagued by animosities of ethnic and religious bias, demands for scarce resources and, in the post-colonial period, poor government. The American Navy recognizes the value of the waterway to its projection of power from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea and further east in the Pacific.

China's strategic objectives

Controlling access to this key sea gate has become a strategic priority of China. China knows that any role it may play in southwest Asia and beyond will require the ability to control access to not only the important shipping lanes, but also to the broader oceans bordering so much of Asia.

China also understands that its naval capability is several years away from matching that of the United States. America's Seventh Fleet is capable of projecting force from the Straits of Taiwan throughout the western Pacific, South China Sea and beyond into the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. For China to fully assert power over the Asian region, it will someday have to confront the United States and, at the least, check its vast military power in the region. Exactly how this could be done is widely discussed among those who understand the ambitions that China nourishes and cultivates.

Yossef Bodansky, a director of the congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare writes, "Any Chinese naval and military surge into the Indian Ocean-a major strategic priority of Beijing-must pass through the Strait of Malacca. Beijing considers its surge into the Indian Ocean as part of a strategic surge of global proportions aimed at consolidating military posture in a hostile environment (from both a global and regional strategic point of view), and in a strategic grand design that anticipates the possibility of a major military clash with the U.S. in the foreseeable future" ("Beijing's Surge for the Strait of Malacca," Yossef Bodansky, ).

Writing in the National Review of March 20, 2000, Mark Helprin, contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal, chronicled China's future possibilities in an article entitled, "East Wind." He quotes Deng Xiaoping's 16-Character Policy: "Combine the military and the civil; combine peace and war; give priority to military products; let the civil support the military." Over the last two decades, all signs point to China's determination to become a major modern world power by taking every advantage from the West and preparing itself for future conflict. "It is approaching this with purposeful concentration...and resolve.... Its task is to win the next war, whenever that may be, and its determination is not to be dismissed" (p. 37).

Clearly the coming years will continue to see China assert its influence on the affairs of its neighbors as part of its grand design. With this in mind as we look at current events in this region we can understand their significance.

Unrest in the Pacific islands

Since 1998, the Indonesian archipelago has been going through significant change and upheaval. The autocratic rule of President Suharto was replaced by the regime of newly elected President Abdurrachman Wahid. His short term has seen separatist movements unravel Indonesia's fragile unity. Last September the former Portuguese colony of East Timor voted for independence. Evacuating Indonesian troops carried out a vicious revenge upon the inhabitants. Today, while trying to rebuild with the help of United Nations' troops, tiny East Timor is a shambles. Moreover, Indonesia faces continuing separatist movements.

Closer to the all-important Malaccan strait is Aceh. Inhabitants of this region have long sought their independence. Before Indonesia was formed, they fought the Dutch for the right of sovereignty. Since the 1950s, a strong independence movement has sought autonomy from greater Indonesia, which presents a major challenge to the stability of the Wahid government.

Other regions of Indonesia are seeing the rising tide of separatism, which threatens to fragment this country of 13,000 islands, containing 300 ethnic groups with 365 languages. Recent fighting in the northern Moluccas resulted in the imposition of martial law and the call by some for international intervention.

Although further to the east and not a part of Indonesia, the small island of Fiji has also been racked with civil unrest, as the majority Fijian population have lashed out at the dominating economic and political influence of the Indian inhabitants. An attempted coup and political hostage taking has resulted in an ongoing drama.

Decades of fragile unity are unraveling in an area of the world that few understand.

A potentially important chapter

Stratfor's Global Intelligence Update of June 12, 2000, put these isolated events into a broader perspective. "It is therefore startling to step back and realize that with these two crises, a virtually unbroken belt of instability now stretches from the Straits of Malacca in western Indonesia to the south central Pacific.

"It is easy to dismiss this as an interesting coincidence. And it may well be that purely local forces exploded simultaneously. Nevertheless, the strategic implications of events may be very real, if not at all intended by the actors involved. Alone each of these events means little. But taken as a whole, they could threaten commercial shipping-and naval traffic. If, in the course of a few years, hostile forces emerge in control of these islands and portions of Indonesia, the world will find every reason to care.

"But what power would be in a position to benefit from this situation? There is but one: China. The government in Beijing is clearly intent on becoming the dominant East Asian power; it has an interest in keeping U.S. forces at bay and it has the means to take advantage. So long as American fleets lurk just over the horizon, China will fail in its ability to redraw a new regional order."

The article goes on to show the possible ways China could take advantage of a breakdown in the region and assert control. The countries that stand to lose the most in such a global power shift-the United States, Australia and New Zealand-are not taking the critical steps necessary to prevent such long-term threats. It concludes by saying, "A potentially important chapter is opening in the Pacific." How important may be better understood by a look at what Bible prophecy says about the future of the modern-day descendants of ancient Israel.

Students of biblical prophecy who understand the identity of Israel in the end time, will focus on the prophecies made to Abraham and his descendants concerning the possession of certain "gates." God made this promise to Abraham first in Genesis 22:17That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

See All..., where it says, "...and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies." This is repeated to Rebekah in Genesis 24:60And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.

See All...: "Our sister, may you become the mother of thousands of ten thousands; and may your descendants possess the gates of those who hate them."

Traditionally these gates have been understood to be land and sea passages that controlled access to larger geographic regions and allowed one nation to control and influence trade, travel and political and cultural affairs of other countries.

Historically, the modern descendants of Israel, with Britain (Ephraim) and America (Manasseh) leading the way, have held control of many such gates scattered around the globe. Events of the past two hundred years have seen a remarkable collection of such possessions play a major role in the ascendant power of the two nations.

Gibraltar, which stands at the western gate of the Mediterranean Sea, is still today a British possession. The Suez Canal, once called "the backbone of the British Empire" came into British control during the late 19th century. At its peak, the British Empire controlled or influenced such major world "gates" as Hong Kong, the Khyber Pass, the Cape of Good Hope and many others. Possession of these strategic points helped create and maintain the economic and military dominance of the British Empire.

Similarly, the United States acquired control of key points that helped it grow into a great single power. The United States has taken up the power vacuum left behind by the demise of the British Empire in the 20th century. The Panama Canal, a modern engineering marvel, is one such example. With the Strait of Malacca, the power of the U.S. Navy insures unhindered passage of both Western and Eastern commercial interests.

What will the future bring?

The past decade has seen the American military begin withdrawing from Asia. In 1992 the navy shut down its huge base at Subic Bay in the Philippines. This was its largest repair and fueling station in the Pacific. Okinawa in Japan is another major U.S. military installation. Japanese protests over this presence are a recurring problem, which creates pressure to withdraw. Recent reunification talks between North and South Korea highlight the presence of U.S. peacekeeping troops that have been there since the end of the Korean War. Should those two nations reunite, there would be no compelling political reason for the American troops to stay. The pressure to leave would be very strong.

In Leviticus 26:19And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:

See All..., God says to Israel that because of sin and breaking of divine law there would be a breaking of the "pride of your power…." The dual nature of this prophecy applies to modern descendants of Israel as well.

Though no one would say that modern day Manasseh's (U.S.) power has been completely broken-indeed America straddles the world today as the sole superpower-there is a part of this prophecy that is instructive. In verse 17, God says, "I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you."

The United States and Britain have reaped the blessings of their forefather Abraham. Their unprecedented wealth and global influence is traced to the obedience of that man. Today, the moral fiber of these nations has the cancer of greed and immorality, which has severely eroded national will.

Empires fall for a variety of reasons. A common cause is a loss of will, the inner impulse to expand or to defend and preserve core values and national principles. Part of Britain's retreat from its empire was due to its lack of desire and conviction to maintain the far-flung territories gained at a different time by another generation. Today, other nations are watching America to see if it has the will to defend its founding principles on the world scene. The balance of power in today's world depends on that outcome. WNP


No comments: