Thursday, November 28, 2013

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At the Crossroads…Again (America has Withdrawn)

crumbling

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

HAPPY CHANUKAH!  Where a little light dispels a lot of darkness, and where the few defeated the many, the pure defeated the impure, and the weak defeated the strong (not by the strength of their hand, all from hand of Heaven, but they had to stand, call out Mi Hashem Alie – whoever is for G-d to me, raise their sword and go).

And Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers, where those who survived a perilous journey and fled an oppressive world thanked God for surviving and having a harvest that would allow them to live through the winter.

As I sit down and watch the lights of Chanukah burn, I’m pondering where we’re at.  Last week we saw a miraculous, if possibly untrue, situation with Syria’s capacity to make chemical weapons destroyed and their stockpiles “isolated awaiting removal”. (We’ll ignore for the moment the almost impossibility of removal in the midst of a civil war and the complete lack of any country willing to do it.)  The Jewish people were no longer under the (immediate) threat of a chemical weapons attack, of being gassed.  And the threat was removed without bloodshed or even Israel’s involvement.  Miraculous.  But NOT a world changing event, just regional impact.

There are crossroads in the world, inflection points of history in secular speak, turning points in the Divine Plan in religious speak.  In the past such were identified by historians as well as chachamim (religious leaders examining what happened or how we got here).  Since often information couldn’t be gathered until long after, this was the only way.  Today we are flooded with information, and the challenge is in knowing how to sip from the raging river of information overload.

In recent times we’ve seen two such inflection points.  One day the world was one way, the next it was a completely different place to live.

The first: The Fall of the Berlin wall, as part of the almost instant crumbling of the Soviet Union.  Almost overnight the world changed from two superpowers, each with the ability to annihilate all life on Earth 30 times over struggling political and cultural supremacy, to one superpower flailing around for relevance but entering an internal golden age of prosperity (to excess).

It was miracles right in front of our faces, a massive change in the world, almost bloodless, in an amazingly short period of time.

The second:  9/11, the successful attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon in the United States by a non-state multi-national terror organization.  The complacent and now bloated overspending sole superpower was suddenly faced with a need for direct militarization and ongoing war and security expenses. 

A terrifying change in the world.  The Western world was no longer secure, the barbarians were no longer far away overseas or even at the gates, they were attacking from the inside.  Internal freedoms were curtailed, external wars begun (if you can’t target the non-state actors, target the states in which they hang out?)

Each such inflection point changes the world.  It’s not only what happened that day or that month (and it was usually the culmination of a trend, one that could not be predicted or understood until that moment), but the completely new path the world headed.

The U.S. administration had been laying the groundwork for a new inflection point, and the pivot was made this past Saturday.  The U.S. turned it’s back on it’s traditional and long term allies, embracing a declared enemy and budding regional power with the stated goal of destroying the U.S. and Israel, and taking control of the Middle East as well as bringing it’s religious approach, forcefully, to the world.

The U.S., the sole superpower or in historical terms, the current world empire, has declared itself war weary and world weary.  It no longer wishes to influence the world, and no longer wishes to project – project stability, project influence, project power – soft or hard.  It no longer wants allies, for allies come with responsibilities.  It wants no responsibility, responsibility is too expensive.  To expensive in lives, and to expensive treasure.  It no longer believes in it’s goals or place or in sacrifice or responsibility to be able to commit lives.  And having exported all of it’s industry and much of it’s expertise, it no longer has the treasure – and what it has it choses to spend in other ways.

It disengaged from responsibility for defense of Poland, no missile coverage for them.  It was reluctantly drawn into assisting in Libya, “leading from behind”, doing the minimum that it’s allies demanded while figuring out how to refuse in the future.  When Great Britain had another round of their dispute with Argentina, backing it’s ally was no longer it’s way.  It refused to be drawn into stopping a slaughter in Syria, not even instituting a no fly zone or making an “unbelievably small” attack.

Those actions and many others set an approach and tone.  That approach is… America has Withdrawn.  That’s the basis for the pivot…

The third inflection:  America, having withdrawn from ally relationships (in actions, where it counts the most, while lying about it and continuing the political words even while the actions contradict them), releases the sanctions upon Iran, opening the way for Iran to become a regional power and world threat.  Whether Iran actually builds a nuclear weapon or not, they have immediately achieved nuclear ambiguity.  If you are in Iran’s range, dare you challenge them or stand against their goals when they could nuke you, or maybe nuke you next week or next month (if not today)?

Yes, America was the world’s policeman, as were the British before and the Ottoman's before that – the last 3 world empires.

Now there is no police, no stabilizing force, no organizing force.  If Brazil decides they’re threated, or Venezuela, of course they’ll build nukes or chemical weapons or biological weapons and everyone will back off – for now, until the threatened can do the same.

How will Saudi Arabia react?  Or Turkey?  How will Israel?  How will Brazil react?  Or Chile? 

Today it’s a multi-lateral game where threatening the world with destruction is the opening stakes to come to the table.

If the British Empire drove formality, civilization, respect, order and procedure across the world, America drove liberty, justice, democracy, and possibilities of personal achievement.  With America’s withdrawal comes the decline of those values (for ill as people lose freedom of choice in their lives and for good as the excesses of Gaga and Cyrus are no longer tolerated).

Do not make the mistake of thinking this is a temporary situation, that the U.S. can just elect a different president and move the world back.  The U.S. has never been able to de-nuke North Korea or Pakistan.  When Saudi Arabia and Iran are in a nuclear face off, as is North Korea and Japan, and Venezuela and Brazil, there is no leverage to make the problem go away.

This Chanukah we enter a changed world.  And today Israel knows it has no one to whom to turn other than Our Father in Heaven.

Let’s go metaphysical for a moment.  While Iran continues work on a plutonium reactor (which can have no other purpose than nuclear weapons), the U.S. is busy (according to Iranian officials) opening a US-Iran Chamber of Commerce.  Yet we know Iran is going to overreach.  If we take the Yalkut Shimoni and we put it together with the prophecy from the Gemora, we know that the US and Iran are going to have a direct military conflict.  We also know that Saudi Arabia directly calls for U.S. help.  And if we tie in the biblical prophecy, which is geographically relevant, we get it finishing in southern Iraq.  (The Saudi oil fields, which is in a Shia populated area of Saudi, is also on the border of Iraq, which is also Shia – as is Iran – but Saudi as a country is Sunni.  It’s a perfect setup for an economic and religious war, with Iran less than 100 miles away across the Gulf.)

The name of this connecting point is Basra…  And that draws us directly into biblical prophecy.  A nuclear face off fit’s it perfectly.

…and the U.S.’s moves just guaranteed it.

Do not fear sudden terror nor the destruction of the wicked when it comes.  Contrive a scheme but it will be foiled, conspire a plot but it will not materialize, for G-d is with us…”  As the Yalkut says, “where can we turn, where can we run?” … “All I’ve done, I’ve done for you.”

5 comments:

Dov Bar-Leib said...

In the latest two polls here in Israel, Labor would get 19 seats, Meretz 13 seats, and Livni (yes the party should be named after her because that is who the party is about anyway) 5 seats. That translates into more than 1 million Israelis who would vote for far left parties who either want Communism to give them everything and who hate settlers who prevent them from being loved by a dying world. At the other extreme United Torah Judaism's top lieutenants, Gafni and Litzman, are the same two rats that notified their gedolim about the lack of danger in withdrawing from Jewish Gaza putting 300,000 Jews into danger of longer range and more accurate missiles. They represent another 200,000 Jews in Israel. With this striking lack of reflection on how getting the world to love them has lead to a more dangerous country, I am left wondering what K'li will HaShem use to inspire the nation to abandon either their avodah zarah of popularity or their desire to perpetuate the Galut. What k'li can be used which will end their oppression, the oppression of the wicked?

G-d willing we should know very soon.

Yankel said...

There is no need to look forward to the fulfillment of the Yalkut Shimoni midrash--it was already fulfilled. "Been there done that."

Over the course of 5750-51 (1990-91) the Rebbe connected the unfolding events of the conflict in
the Persian Gulf to the words of the Yalkut Shimoni “In the year in which the King Moshiach is revealed...the Persian king provokes an Arab king..."

After the completion of the war, the Rebbe said clearly and unequivicaly that this Midrash was fullfilled in that year:

...the wonders which have already been seen in actuality and in a revealed way in the eyes of the entire world in this year, that in them the words of the Yalkut Shimoni were fulfilled: “the year in which the King Moshiach is revealed…the time of your redemption has arrived.”(Sicha, parshas Naso, 5751, ois 13)

(Read a full length explanation
here)

Dov Bar-Leib said...

Yankel: What miracles of the coming of Mashiach have been revealed in the last 22 years? We are in the depths of spiritual galut....still. If you are trying to tell us that the Lubavitcher Rebbe is Mashiach, you are sounding a lot like the early Jewish Xtians who thought Yoshke was Mashiach. When it came time for the Bar Kochba revolt and the ensuing massacres by the Romans, the early Xtians were so far off in lala land that they could no longer feel the pain of Jewish suffering associated with the crushing of the Bar Kochba revolt precisely because they believed that Mashiach had already come ...and died...and risen.

Plus in 5750 and 5751 Saddam Hussein was NOT melekh of Persia. He was melekh of Bavel. When the Saudis sought advice from Gog Bush Sr., they were NOT afraid of Persia. They were afraid of the gilgul of Nebuchadnezzar from ancient Bavel. The Persians did not play much of a role at all in the First Persian Gulf War. We are NOW in a situation where the Persians are front and center the new world power on the scene, getting ready to try to take over the world. The first conquest on their list is the Saudi Arabian oil fields. The situation now is IDENTICAL to the situation that the Medrash in Yalkut Shimoni presents as the final end of days scenario for the final war. This was not the case in 5750.

Akiva said...

Yankel,

Unlike DovBarLeib, I don't have a problem with the Rebbe's statements about the Gulf War and matching it to Yalkut Shimoni - particularly because it DID tie in so well. HOWEVER, as Dov notes the Rebbe's words weren't completely fulfilled. So this just may be the first nevua to be fulfilled TWICE.

Golda said...

What about Ovadia? The prophecies that leaders will cease to exist in Edom and wisdom will vanish from Esav? For refusing to help Yaakov in his distress and refusing to hear him...I am not a Rabbi. I always thought the only relevance Esav has is when he protects his brother. He already spit on the Torah and Mitzvot. He has attached his book of idolatry to our holy Torah. And it contradicts it at every turn. And goyim are forbidden to create a false religion for themselves involving our Hashem and our Torah?
Otherwise, Esav has had his porridge. He scorned the birthright, the blessing and the inheritance because he wanted material things right now. NO?
Israel should know not to trust him. Israel already knows his future. Israel stands where no nation can ever stand. And has a promise for its' future that no other nation has.

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