Every now and then,
there are shifts in the world. These are moments that can be called game-changers. What we have been watching this last week in Afghanistan is most certainly one of these game-changing moments. Not since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union have we witnessed this big an alteration in the geopolitical landscape. These past seven days have seen the end of America as the world’s number one superpower and have left us in what now can be considered a Post-American Era.
I am not saying these words for shock power, nor am I in any way gloating. I am an Israeli with a deep love for the United States. There is no greater friend that my country has had in our 73 years of existence than the US, and there are many in America that I consider to be as close to me as family. That is why it is with great pain and sorrow that I write these words. But it needs to be said, and maybe it takes someone from the outside who can look at the situation objectively and who has access to news and media that isn’t driven by a party agenda.
What has taken place this last week in Afghanistan has shown the world that America under this present administration is, as one Chinese TV host put it, a “paper tiger”. It may look big and scary on the outside, but when an Islamist terrorist army came marching to Kabul, rather than standing up against it, the US military continued its pull out, abandoning its friends and allies and breaking its promises. Please understand that this is not a knock on the United States military. If US forces were allowed to give full vent to their power and skill, the Taliban would be reduced to smoldering ash heaps in hours. It is the finest, strongest military in the world. But even a small child can throw rocks at a great bear if the great bear is penned up in a cage.
What led to this situation? Not surprisingly, many fingers in Washington and in the press are pointing at the previous US president. But that is based on either ignorance or a willful distortion of the facts. It is true that the previous president did plan to pull troops out of Afghanistan, but it was going to be a measured withdrawal based on a deal that he had established between President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban. Under the deal, Ghani would release 5000 prisoners to the Taliban.
In return, the Taliban would not attack the Afghani forces or the US military. The American president threatened the Taliban mullah he was dealing with saying that if they broke the deal, he would hit them like they’d never been hit before. He even mentioned by name the village that the Mullah came from. Ghani, for his part, never liked the agreement that the 45th president brokered. He worked hard with this friends in the Democratic Party to sabotage the deal. But, the pact was signed in Qatar in 2020, and for the next one-and-a-half years, no American soldier was lost due to the Taliban.
Then the new administration came in and immediately canceled the deal between the Afghanis and the Taliban. In its place, they presented… nothing! They just began to pull out and figured the Afghanis could take care of themselves. The Taliban, seeing the deal gone, decided they had no choice but to take over. They began overwhelming little pockets of Afghanistan here and there. The Afghani army that America had trained, funded, equipped, and trusted dropped their weapons and ran away. Soon, the pockets of Taliban control spread and began to merge, and before the world knew it, the Taliban army was closing in on Kabul. What was predicted to take 2-4 months took 2-4 days. Even the Taliban was shocked at how easy it was, with many areas around the country falling without even a fight.
Then President Ghani, as corrupt a politician as one can find, fled the country with $169 million. The nation was leaderless, and the Taliban happily stepped in to fill the vacuum. When the United States saw that the Afghani army had completely collapsed, they signed a pact with the Taliban asking for a period of time to let them safely pull their personnel out. So far, as the Americans have fled, they have left behind billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment. Just like that, the Taliban has gone from hiding out in the wilderness of Afghanistan to becoming one of the best armed terrorist militias in the world.
The present situation in Afghanistan comes right out of a dystopian nightmare. While the Taliban puts on a front of a kinder, gentler terrorist force, the Afghanis know what is really going on. Murder, execution, rape, child trafficking – that is what is taking place away from the cameras of the western news sources. Unfortunately for the perpetrators, their evil deeds can’t escape phones and social media. The postings have been horrific.
The scenes at the Kabul airport with tens of thousands flooding the runways and surrounding the grounds are enough to tell us what is really going on in the country. Many of us have seen the pictures and videos of planes filled to capacity with those who are fleeing. We’ve witnessed the bodies of the desperate ones, mistakenly thinking they could hold onto the outside of a plane the way they would to a railroad car, lose their grip and plunge to the ground. Despite the huge number of Afghanis who have made it to the airport, there are still an estimated ten thousand Americans and American allies who are trapped in various places around the country.
Afghanistan has the 2nd largest, per capita, underground church in the world, estimated at 100,000. Only the underground church in Iran is larger and faster growing. Under the Taliban Caliphate, Christians in Afghanistan will now face an uncertain future of persecution and forced conversions to Islam. Recently, the Pentagon put out a statement saying it could no longer secure safe passage to the airport.
World Wide Ripple Affects
The purpose of this newsletter is less about Afghanistan itself, than about the ripple effects of what has just taken place. Just as the swells expand outward when a stone is thrown into a pond, the waves emanating from the boulder of American weakness being dropped into “Lake Afghanistan” are shaking the world. When the bad guys are only being kept at bay because of the presence of the policeman, what happens when it is discovered that the policeman has no bullets in his gun? Not only should all the innocent citizens run for cover, but the policeman himself better watch his back.
As mentioned earlier, China is feeling the ripples. What is it that has kept that powerful nation from taking Taiwan, an island nation they have coveted for decades? American power. Now China is flexing its muscles and increasing its threats. Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times (a state affiliated media outlet), tweeted, “After the fall of the Kabul regime, the Taiwan authorities must be trembling. Don’t look forward to the US to protect them. Taipei officials need to quietly mail-order a Five-Star Red Flag from the Chinese mainland. It will be useful one day when they surrender to the PLA [People’s Liberation Army].”
Beijing also is positioning China as the world’s new moderate voice of reason and helpfulness. They present themselves as the ones who are prepared to enter Afghanistan to help fix the mess that the unhinged, war-thirsty, bumbling Americans have left behind. They’ve also worked out a deal with the Taliban to mine and exploit the estimated $1-3 trillion of rare minerals in the country, promising the Islamic government a healthy cut. If there is any nation in the world that should have US citizens feeling nervous, it is China.
The ripple of Afghanistan has reached the shores of the hermit kingdom of North Korea. Through sources that I trust, I have been told to keep an eye on Kim Jong-un. North Korea has been waiting for a weak or distracted America. It now has both.
Iran is riding the ripple by going full bore on its uranium enrichment. This ramping up had already begun with the advent of the new US administration and the return to negotiations. They have already reached the 60% enrichment threshold and are rapidly progressing toward the 90% needed for weapons-grade uranium. Meanwhile, their terrorist proxies in Iraq and Syria continue to grow bolder as they attack oil fields, weapons caches, Iraqi forces, and US military facilities. America will strike back occasionally, but the only country that is consistently hitting Middle Eastern terrorists is Israel.
The ripples are rolling north to a country that also knows a little about leaving Afghanistan in defeat – Russia. They’ve been there, done that, and just under three years after their departure the USSR dissolved. When it comes to the aftermath of Afghanistan, Putin is hoping for contracts for the military and commercial rebuilding of the country. But there is an even bigger play that he is working toward. The concern in many former Soviet republics of an expanding Russia, which was already heightened since the US transition in January, is now increased even more. Ukraine in particular is wondering how long it will be before Vladimir Putin stops knocking at the door and just kicks it down.
There is also no one left to confront the growing presence of Russia, Iran, and Turkey in Syria. Turkish President Erdogan also covets his part of the new Afghanistan hoping to be the Sunni Islam presence in the nation’s rebuilding, alongside secular Russia and China. But in Syria, Russia, Iran, and Turkey together have become an axis of power situated just north of Israel.
Which brings us to the last of the pertinent states feeling the ripple. It is also the most important – Israel. I don’t say that simply because I am a Jew and I root for my home team. That statement is fully backed by the Scriptures.
Israel is the center of God’s plan for the nations. In fact, Bible prophecy has nothing to say about the nations as such in their relations to one another, but only in their relation to Israel – the people and the land.
Does that mean that God doesn’t care about all the other nations? Does He only love Israel and the rest of the countries can just go pound sand? Of course not! It just means that as we look for God’s hand in the progression of His timeline for this world, one of the factors in consideration must always be how the nation of Israel is affected. And in the case of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the answer is “greatly”. Israel is in real trouble right now. Washington, our greatest ally, is weak. The new Israeli “government of change” is pitifully weak. Russia doesn’t respect us. Iran is tweeting out threats. Israel is in a precarious position today. We are isolated, and the enemy is at our gates.
For true Christians, those who have received Jesus as their Savior and Lord, these ripples should be a cause for concern but not for fear. When the 45th president was in office, peace was spreading through the Middle East. Any bad actors had to have one eye to their gunsights and one eye to the sky looking for that missile that just might be racing towards them. Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un, Ayatollah Khamenei, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan knew that they could push boundaries, but that there was a point of “too far”. Now with the 46th president, we’ve seen that “too far” no longer exists.
I have said many times that I am not a prophet. I can only look at Scripture and look at the world around me and see how the two fit together. I am also not a sensationalist, nor a date setter. When it comes to biblical interpretation as it relates to geopolitical events, I will always err on the side of caution. That being said, I must tell you that with the era coming to an end of America standing as the world’s greatest superpower, one of the last major hurdles leading up to the rapture of the church has been overcome. Am I telling you that Jesus is returning for His bride tomorrow? Lord, let it be so, but, no, I am not.
If you are a Christian, be about your Father’s business.
My dear brothers and sisters, by all appearances the time is short. Let us not rest. Let us not be distracted. Let us be about the Great Commission, sharing the truth of Jesus Christ and making disciples. Thus, if the Lord does continue to tarry, His kingdom will continue to expand. But if He should return soon to take us to be with Him, that friend or relative or co-worker whom the Holy Spirit has placed on your heart just might be joining you to meet the Lord in the air.
Awaiting His Return