Explanation of NATO              Week of 4/8 & 15/2019

NATO emblem and explanation of the words N-A-T-O

This month marks the 70th anniversary of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). You may ask, what is NATO? By definition, according to their website, “Security in our daily lives is key to our well‐being. NATO′s purpose is to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.” Check out this very brief video clip for a visual explanation. The member states (listed by year they joined) are: Belgium (1949), Canada (1949), Denmark (1949), France (1949), Iceland (1949), Italy (1949), Luxembourg (1949), Netherlands (1949), Norway (1949), Portugal (1949), The United Kingdom (1949), The United States (1949), Greece (1952), Turkey (1952), Germany (1955), Spain (1982), Czech Republic (1999), Hungary (1999), Poland (1999), Bulgaria (2004), Estonia (2004), Latvia (2004), Lithuania (2004), Romania (2004), Slovakia (2004), Slovenia (2004), Albania (2009), Croatia (2009). and Montenegro (2017).

Why did these countries form NATO? Even though Russia has been under Communist/Socialist rule since 1917, and they helped the allies during WW2; after WW2, the U.S.S.R. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) seized upon the governments of several Eastern European countries. Those countries included Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia, the Baltic countries—Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland which was partially controlled by the Soviets due to the Ribbentrop‐Molotov Pact (See our post, Poland, Iran, The Soviet Union And Their History ‐ 2/18/19, for more detail. ). At that time, these countries made the Communist U.S.S.R the largest country in the world. Between the years of 1946 and 1991 (the cold war era), the U.S.S.R. grew to 8,650,000 square miles. Outer Mongolia became the first Communist regime outside of the Soviet Union in 1945, followed by China in 1949—and eventually most of East Asia fell under its spell. Some African countries also turned to Communism: Republic of Congo around 1960, Ethiopia in 1974, Angola and Mozambique in 1975 and Somalia in 1976. Even the Middle East was affected—the 1960′s saw South Yemen becoming openly Communist. In the 1940′s, the Communist Party also had strong influences in Italy and France. (Just a note: Communism from country to country differs. The Communism of Russia is different from the Communism of China; however, the basic foundations are still the same. And while we can debate on whether a country really was (or still is) communist (because, as some say, no country has actually achieved the pinnacle of communism) we do not, in this article, wish to explore these opinions, but use the word, “communism” to relate to a policy and action.)

Before Russia would even enter a country they would start recruiting policemen and forming communist parties in that country. Once in a country, they would immediately take over the radio station (or whatever public communications was popular at the time) trying to convince the masses that communism was the way to go—it was the future. They would infiltrate organized groups like political parties, athletic clubs—any kind of club or religious activity where they could get involved and decide if these clubs, or organizations, needed to be restricted. They introduced change—ethnic cleansing, no private property—all belongs to the state, one central bank and taxation according to income. The more you made the more you were taxed, which created a society that was punished for achievement—unless you were part of the ruling class. The government became the controller of all communications, transportation, factories and agriculture—they left nothing for the citizens to make choices about—including the education of their children or their welfare. They stripped these countries of their factories and productivity, shipping them to Russia. Once there, they were rebuilt and Russia would then send to the various countries Russian goods. If you were in the ruling class and agreed with those in charge—life may have been very nice; but, if you were the average worker you were told what education or vocation would be except‐able for you, where and when to work, even what clothing would be appropriate. If you disagreed, or openly spoke against the government, or did not desire to join “the party” (the communist party) you would go on a list and would be watched. Once you were considered a threat, you (and more than likely your whole family) would be removed. Removed could mean relocated to Siberia (or some other undesirable place), or removed could mean permanently from this earth.

Thus, with Communism on the march, free countries bonded together forming NATO to protect their freedoms. However, with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapsed of the Soviet Union in 1991—the cold war was over. The world′s largest nation, that had threatened many countries existence, was shattering apart—was NATO still needed? In 1990, the NATO members met in London to discuss that very issue. They decided that since they had enjoyed placidity for the past 40 years, they would continue the bond to insure freedom and peace for their homelands. Over the decades, NATO has worked with the United Nations (UN) and seeks permission of member states before making actions. While U.S. President Bush was in office, NATO members Poland and the Czech Republic were concerned about threats from the east (Russia). They made a deal with their NATO friend for a missile defense shield program. As Russia complained about the plan, the U.S. explained that the East European shield was designed to intercept a solitary missile from Iran or North Korea (long range) not a Russian attack—therefore, the plan was to go forward. However, with the arrival of U.S. President Barrack Obama, the plan was scrapped so as to have better relations with the Russians in order for them to help with dealings in Iran. Thus the Russians appeared to believe it was their complaining that brought about the change in U.S. policy. Fast forward to 2014, Russia invades former Ukrainian territory of Crimea. They said it was in order to protect the mostly ethnic Russian community in the Black Sea peninsula, but NATO considered it a violation of International Law. The NATO member countries bordering Russia fortified their borders.

Moving to 2018, Russia launches a cruise missile in Russia′s Leningrad region. With obvious concerns from Lithuania, the Russia government responded with, “The weapons posed no threat to the NATO Western military alliance member.” They continued, “…Placing particular armaments and deploying specific military units on Russian territory are solely the sovereign issue of Russia.” “Russia has never threatened and does not threaten anyone…that is why this should hardly be a cause for someone′s concern.” According to NATO′s website, “Every nation has the right to conduct exercises, but it is important that they are conducted transparently and in line with International obligations.”

That brings us to the 1st week of April—NATO′s most recent gathering. The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo warned of many security issues facing the free world including Russia′s destabilization. To add to the previous list, last year Russia seized three Ukrainian naval vessels; they have been key players to backing Iran on the world market and their involvement in Venezuela. Add to this Russia′s defiance of the outdated INF treaty with the United States and you have a recipe for destabilization. (See our blog of 2/4&10/19 for more on the INF Treaty.) Since the fall of the U.S.S.R people have mistakenly thought communism in Russia was dead. In fact, since 1991, for the most part, Russia has been ruled by people who love communist/socialist ideals—especially President Putin.

On the other hand, over the last couple of years the West has been slow to respond to Russian aggression. They not only allowed Russia to invade Ukraine, but stood by while President Putin interceded in Syria. Russia has gotten use to America′s wavering commitments—which to them exemplifies weakness. After the cold war era, the Americans destroyed most of their cold war weapons and Russia (not including the missiles they agreed to destroy due to the INF Treaty) kept most of their cold war relics. Many are asking, how prepared is the United States for war games with Russia? As NATO′s strongest member, the United States under President Donald Trump has provided NATO member, Ukraine with Javelin anti‐tank missiles and U.S. trainers to work with the Ukrainians. They have been trained to only use these missiles in situations where they need to defend their homeland. Some have concerns that these actions will provoke Russia into an unfavorable response. Under President Trump, NATO has also carried out over 100 exercises with its members. These are the largest war games since the Cold War. At home, President Trump appears committed to "rebuilding U.S. deterrence (deterring a nuclear attack by the capacity or threat of retaliating) to preserve peace through strength." He believes the slow depletion of the U.S. military has, in recent years, resulted in an escalation of threats the world over. It does appear President Trump is committed to reversing this reduction. Russia, as a sovereign nation, is certainly not going to sit idly by while NATO gains strength. They also have allies and have held similar war exercises. President Putin does not appear to be underestimating the U.S. President, he is preparing through tough talk, weapon development and cyber hacktivism.

What does this have to do with Bible Prophecy? As we have mentioned many times, the Bible talks about a war between Russia and the U.S. Check out this link for more. After twenty some years these two world powers (Russia and the U.S.) are once again posturing themselves and preparing for the worst. In fact, most NATO members that border Russia are on alert. Would you consider that the Bible really does predict the future? In the case of a nuclear attack are you ready? Check out this link. Some people are prepping for the worst scenarios; some are not preparing at all. Have you given any thought to your future if indeed there is a World War 3? Jesus Christ has tried to warn you. Will you commit your life to Jesus before it is too late? You are never promised tomorrow. Check out this link if you are interested in committing your life to Jesus.

Sources: rferl.org; nato.int; ducksters.com; factsanddetails.com; rt.com; edition.cnn.com theatlantic.com; theclassroom.com; newsweek.com; politifact.com; rt.com; britannica.com; britannica.com; nato.int; rferl.org; npr.org; forbes.com; foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com; whitehouse.gov. newsweek.com militarytimes.com

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