The Fight for Ukraine

If Ukraine is to still join the EU, expect it to after the cold winter subsides. This way, Russia can no longer blackmail the Ukranian leadership via energy supplies by shutting off the gas lines as it did a few years back — which also was a statement to Europe as it, too, was affected.

Every decent revolution produces an iconic scene. The 1989 Tiananmen protests had tank man; during Germany’s reunification it was a segment of the Berlin Wall swaying back and forth like a wiggly tooth before finally collapsing; in Baghdad in 2003, it was the slow-motion toppling of the giant statue of Saddam Hussein. On Sunday, the budding revolution in Ukraine got its iconic scene, when, amid protests of roughly 500,000 in Kiev’s Independence Square, angry marchers felled a Vladimir Lenin statue then slugged it to pieces with sledgehammers.

The protesters are upset with President Viktor Yanukovich, and specifically his November 29 decision to reject a free-trade deal with the EU. The decision was seen not only as a rejection of Europe, but an embrace of Russia. Many Ukrainians worry that Yanukovich, despite repeated denials, has struck a deal with Vladimir Putin to form a customs union with Russia.

Whatever the outcome, events in Ukraine highlight three important geopolitical realities, each of which is also prophetically significant.

First, Ukraine reveals the regional supremacy of Vladimir Putin. Russia’s president, more than anyone else, is responsible for Yanukovich’s refusal to sign the trade pact with the EU. Prior to Ukraine’s November summit with the EU, Putin made it clear to Yanukovich that there would be ruinous consequences—tariffs on Ukrainian exports to Russia and its allies, steeper energy prices—if Kiev reached out to Europe. Putin schmoozed Yanukovich too, promising Ukraine lower energy prices, debt forgiveness and lower tariffs if it rejected Europe and joined Russia’s customs union.

Yanukovich was in an unenviable position. When it comes to Russia’s periphery, Vladimir Putin doesn’t mess around. Just ask Georgia, the Chechens, and Ukraine’s former pro-EU opposition leader, Viktor Yushchenko. Imagine you were Yanukovich and Putin was pressuring you like this. What would you do? For Yanukovich, and in some ways for Ukraine, rejecting the free-trade agreement with the EU was the safest, most logical move.

The man to watch right now is Vladimir Putin. What’s his next move? It is hard to overstate how central Ukraine is to Putin and his supreme goal of restoring the Soviet empire. Geographically and strategically, Ukraine was the core of the former USSR, and as far as Putin is concerned, the nation isn’t up for discussion or negotiation. To Putin, as Richard Palmer explained last week, Ukraine isn’t a sovereign nation; it’s part of Russia. Putin will do whatever it takes to ensure Ukraine belongs to him.

AND AN ANXIOUS PUTIN IS A DANGEROUS PUTIN!

(Other than horrible leadership, the only other explanation for Brussels’s impotent response to the failed trade pact is that it had already made the decision to concede Ukraine to Russia. But if this was the case, why would the EU even attempt to enter a trade pact with Kiev?)

This trade agreement with Ukraine presented Europe with a historic opportunity: the opportunity to pry Kiev from Moscow, effectively gutting Russia of its most strategically important ally, and creating a new, advantageous geopolitical order both regionally and globally. Without Ukraine, Putin’s power base would suffer enormously, hampering his ability to project power globally, including in the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia. What a victory this would be for Europe and America!

For Europe, events in Ukraine once again expose the Continent’s crisis of leadership, and that this needs to change—and soon!

The leadership Europe needs is going to have to come from Germany. There are already hints that Berlin might be beginning to exert itself in Ukraine and push back at Russia. Early on in the crisis, Germany’s foreign minister visited Kiev, where he met with opposition leaders and pledged support of the pro-West demonstrators. On Monday, Spiegel reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is ready to lead European leaders in an effort to cement Vitali Klitschko, a former heavyweight boxer and popular opposition figure, as the primary rival of president Viktor Yanukovich.

Third, events in Ukraine are the product of America’s introverted foreign policy. “The anti-government demonstrations are an important moment for the future of Europe,” wrote the Wall Street Journal this week, “THOUGH YOU WOULDN’T KNOW IT FROM AMERICA’S INDIFFERENCE.” Charles Krauthammer made a similar point last Friday: “As with Iran’s ruthlessly crushed Green Revolution of 2009, the hundreds of thousands of protesters who’ve turned out to reverse this betrayal of Ukrainian independence HAVE FOUND NO VOICE IN WASHINGTON” (emphasis added).

In the past, the U.S. would have worked with Europe to lend support, both symbolically and practically, to any large-scale democratic venture by Ukraine to reach out to the West. After all, it’s in our strategic interest. But not today. U.S. foreign policy in Eastern Europe under the Obama administration consists of two overarching principles: avoid conflict with Russia, and withdraw both strategically and diplomatically. Both principles were evident in 2009, when President Obama abandoned America’s promise to install a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. They were present a little while later when Obama ignored an official letter from regional leaders expressing alarm at Russia’s return to imperialism. And both principles are evident in Ukraine today.

Beyond the geopolitical import of these three realities, each is also of enormous prophetic significance.

Take Vladimir Putin. Did you know the Bible prophecies of a powerful leader emerging from Russia in the end time? The prophecy is in Ezekiel 38. It discusses the “PRINCE of Rosh and Meshech and Tubal” emerging to lead a gigantic Asian bloc of nations. Rosh, Meshech and Tubal are the biblical names of Russia, Moscow and Tobolsk (the Asian capital of Russia). If you haven’t watched it already, you need to see Gerald Flurry’s recent Key of David program “Russia in Prophecy.” He explains the prophetic significance of Vladimir Putin and his goal of rebuilding the Soviet empire in detail.

Then there’s America’s introverted foreign policy, which is evident in Ukraine and virtually every other corner of the planet. This too is prophetically significant. God says in Leviticus 26 that He would break the pride of our power. In fact, the theme of our January issue of the Trumpet, our free, full-color print magazine, is about what a post-American world will look like. It explores the alarming ramifications of America’s conscious decision to leave regions like Eastern Europe. Without the presence of the U.S. in Eastern Europe, frightening men like Vladimir Putin will have free rein.

Full article: The Fight for Ukraine (The Trumpet)

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