Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Matt 24 [& Ezekiel 38] watch, 47: The Chavez-Iran Axis and the Caribbean basin Anti-US "Alliance"

On Monday, I was astonished to hear on the traditional BBC morning news, that Mr Chavez of Venezuela -- a former Lieutenant Colonel who led a failed coup attempt in 1992 then won an election in 1998 and has recently sought to hold the presidency in perpetuity -- has taken occasion of the launch of his Bolivarian "alternative" to the US' Free Trade Area of the Americas initiative, to announce an anti-US "MILITARY Alliance."

A "military" alliance that - per announcement -- is intended to include our sister Caribbean island, Dominica.

So far, of course, Dominica has been silent.

Doubtless, policy makers and advisers there are desperately trying to figure out what to do and say without losing privileges under the PetroCaribe oil- for- debt- for- generations- to- come deal, and the proposed Venezuela-funded oil refinery that was so proudly announced just a few weeks ago as a triumph of the Roosevelt administration.

Have we so soon forgotten Solomon's grim warning?
The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower [is] servant to the lender. [Pro 22:7; also cf. Matthew Henry's telling comment, here.]
And thus, our agenda-driven rhetorical, ideological and policy chickens have come home to roost.

For decades, it has been fashionable in intellectual, policy and media circles to discuss the real and imagined sins of the USA and other Western powers on a very one-sided way, without any balancing assessment of and appreciation for the blessings and benefits such powers (flawed as they inevitably will be, for they are led by men who are finite, fallible and fallen too, just like we are) have brought to the world and to us.

So, we have utterly distorted the context in which too many people in our region -- including those in high office -- think about issues, situations and policy challenges.

For instance, on any objective assessment, it has been plain for decades that the Castro regime is a tyrannical, oppressive and abusive Communist dictatorship. That's no surprise: it is merely par for the course with that by and large now abandoned destructive utopian experiment in militantly atheistical, socialist political messianism. (After well over 100 millions of the murdered around the world in about seventy years, one would have thought that this much should be obvious.)

But, Mr Castro has been an "anti-imperialist" voice, so we have turned a blind eye to his tyranny, and have consistently failed to give even mild constructive criticism in the name of being the descendants of those only liberated from oppression with great pain and cost.

Thus, we acquired very bad habits of biased thought and judgement.

So, when Mr Chavez came along as a "friend" of Mr Castro [whom he is bailing out of the economically ruinous consequences of communism, to the tune of 96,000 free or nearly free barrels of oil per year; in exchange for sending Cuban doctors to Venezuela], we uncritically embraced him.

Have we forgotten or not noticed Mr Chavez's track record and repeatedly manifested tendencies and proclivities?
1 --> Only a few weeks ago, he narrowly lost a referendum that would have allowed him to stand for "re-election" endlessly (in a situation where he is able to manipulate the terms of elections so that they would easily become more and more unfree and unfair).

2 --> Similarly, the referendum was intended to have given Mr Chavez direct control of the Central Bank, would have given him control of the economy, and would have consolidated a system by which local councils answerable to the President's Office would have been given great power in ruling the communities.

3 --> Of this last, Leopoldo Lopez, Mayor of Chacao district warned:

Communal councils have to register themselves with the president's office. But if they're not absolutely loyal to the government, they won't get registered. And if they're not registered, there's no access to government funds.

You need to promote plurality, tolerance and diversity. Without this, there is no democracy . . . .

"Political power is being concentrated in the president's hands. Community organisations that don't think like the president cannot succeed."
4 --> In addition, even after having lost the referendum on some terms, the BBC sums up that: ". . . Chavez still has almost complete control of the national assembly, has been granted the so-called "enabling law" for the next year, which allows him to pass legislation without recourse to parliament, and his current term runs until 2013."

5 --> That term "enabling law" is chilling, for those familiar with what Adolf Hitler did in the aftermath of the infamous Reichstag fire of 1933, when he rushed through an enabling act that allowed him to make law by decree, i.e gave him absolute power subject only to occasional rubber-stamping renewals of the power by a tame Reichstag, appropriately by then meeting in an opera house.

6 --> Nor is this the fallacy of guilt by dubious association with that notorious dictator. We should first note that "Nazism" is short for National Socialism; and Hitler's party, the NSDAP, was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party." Contrary to popular opinion and many media and pundit claims, Nazism was an ideology of the LEFT, not the right.

7 --> That is, Nazism and its sister ideology Fascism, were variations of the socialist theme in the context of the key idea that times were so critical and enemies of the people so nefarious and threatening, that only rule by a messianic strong man could suffice to save the nation in the crisis, and would do so by in part taking over the commanding heights of the economy and otherwise taking control of the other major institutions in the society; industrial cartels, schools, media, arts, education etc. [BTW, this means that "fascism" is often a lot closer at hand than many of us realise . . .]

8 --> Worse, Mr Chavez has sought to form an axis with Iran, and as was noted in a report excerpted in a recent post in this blog, has allowed Iran's Revolutionary Guards Foreign Legion, Hezbollah, to set up bases of operation in Venezuela.

9 --> In that light, when we also see for instance the setting up of a base at Monkey Point, Nicaragua in collaboration with Iran, we should be very concerned about the emerging Caribbean theatre of operations in the ongoing global conflict. The global conflict that we are ever so reluctant to accept is the slow-burning World War IV.

10 --> World War III, better known as the Cold war, has shown that in a nuclear age, global conflicts burn slowly, play out through proxy wars and terrorism, always threatening to tip over the nuclear threshold. Thus, the chilling relevance of persistent issues and concerns over impending Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles or terrorist groups to deliver them.

11 --> Such missiles -- sited in Venezuela, Nicaragua or Aves/Bird Island off Dominica, etc -- would threaten the whole region and would easily trigger a re-run of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. That crisis came within 12 hours of exploding into tactical then strategic nuclear exchanges, because there was -- unbeknownst to the Americans -- an undetected Russian brigade of tactical nuke missiles in Cuba; which would have been certainly fired off if the invasion had gone in on schedule. [Thankfully, Khrushchev blinked and "called" Kennedy on the now famous "hotline" to back down hours before the US fleet launched the invasion. (Apparently it was a teletype machine, not the melodramatic red telephone that movies have usually shown.)]

12 --> Ominously, Chavez also evidently shows antiSemitic tendencies towards Venezuela's Jewish population (who descend in the main from people who fled Hitler's impending slaughter in Europe before World War II). For instance, as Mona Charen recently writes:
On December 1, 2007, two dozen heavily armed police staged a raid on a Jewish community center in Caracas where hundreds were celebrating a wedding. The police, the Venezuelan equivalent of the FBI, claimed to be seeking weapons and evidence of "subversive activity."

They found no weapons. As for subversive activity, well, in a proto-authoritarian state like Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, subversion is a very elastic concept. The mildest skepticism about Chavez's regime might easily qualify.

This bit of harassment theater was only the latest in a series of worrying moves by the Chavez government against its Jewish citizens. The same community center had been raided in 2004, in the morning hours when children were being bussed to school. The regime — which boasts of cozy friendships with Ahmadinejad's Iran and Castro's Cuba — has also engaged in steady anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda. A little more than a year ago, Chavez declared in a Christmas Eve speech that "the world has wealth for all, but some minorities, the descendants of the same people that crucified Christ, have taken over all the wealth of the world" . . . .

Publications by the government's ministry of culture have featured titles like "The Jewish Question" with cover art showing a Star of David superimposed over a swastika. Jews were accused of complicity in the murder of a prosecutor. An article in a leading newspaper, El Diario de Caracas, asked whether it would become necessary "to expel [the Jews] from the country."

Most recently, as the Forward has reported, Chavez has used the government-run television channel to engage in "lengthy rants about the presence of Mossad agents allegedly in the country working to unseat the Chavez regime with the support of the United States and opposition forces in Venezuela." The program's host interrupted to ask about the loyalty of Jews to Venezuela.

At the start of Chavez's rule, the Jewish community in Venezuela numbered about 30,000. Solid statistics are hard to come by but most estimates now put the number at between 8,000 and 15,000 today. About 50 percent of Venezuela's Jewish community had fled to the country to escape the Nazis during World War II.

Grim reading, but reading that we need to take time with, then soberly reflect on.

Let's connect some dots, in light of Ezekiel 38, and the war of Gog of Magog:
EZEKIEL 38:1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him 3 and say: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 4 I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army--your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. 5 Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, 6 also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops--the many nations with you.

EZE 38:7 " `Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. 8 After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. 9 You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.

EZE 38:10 " `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. 11 You will say, "I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people--all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. 12 I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land" . . . . 16 You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, O Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.

Sounds familiar?

We may want to debate just who and what Gog and Magog are, but the target is not in doubt, nor is the number one ally of Gog: Iran, with many nations joining in, in an overwhelming invasion of Israel, an Israel resettled in the land after many years of desolation. And, as we trace an axis from the Caribbean to Venezuela to Iran and onward to Moscow thence also China, we should take grim warning and refuse to be a party to the stage-setting or preparations for any such "evil scheme."

I dare to say so; in the name of the plain, explicit prophetic counsels of our loving but just Lord and Saviour, The Lord of Hosts; i.e., of armies.

For, this is the prophetic fate of those who attack what our Lord calls "my people Israel," in these latter days:
EZEKIEL 38:18 This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. 19 In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD . . . 22 I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. 23 And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.'
So, even as we look at regional developments, let us soberly reflect on their wider implications and the underlying spiritual issues.

And, let us determine that we shall never touch the apple of God's eye in hate, but rather that we shall always pray for and bless God's people Israel; even in those cases where as the prophets of old, we must point out her sins and call for repentance and reformation. END

No comments: