The U.S. wants the referendum to be canceled and Russia to pull back its forces to Russia or to authorized Russian bases in Crimea, where Russia maintains a major naval base that is home to its Black Sea fleet.
President Obama has been clear in stating, “We cannot allow Russia or any country to defy international law with impunity.” Secretary of State John Kerry said , “There is no place in the community of nations for the kind of aggression and steps we have seen taken in Crimea in Ukraine in these last days.”
German chancellor Angela Merkel said that while she prefers avoiding sanctions, events in Crimea “demand a response” by the European Union.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Europe “can not buy peace with concessions”
Petroleum investor Boone Pickens said President Obama should approve the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada, and encourage the exporting of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe. Pickens believes increased natural gas development in the U.S. could off-set Putin’s pressure on Europe with Russian gas exports.
A senior Pentagon official said Putin was “never punished by the international community” for the aggression in Georgia in 2008. Some authorities are concerned Putin’s ultimate objective is “to try and take Kiev if he can, and if the consequences aren’t too severe for him.”
Putin has openly stated the collapse of the Soviet Empire was the bitterest blow of his lifetime. He believes his destiny is to restore what can be salvaged. As a dictator he cannot survive without an external threat, real or imagined. He runs a corrupt regime that manages a weak economy dependent on oil and gas. He has lost the popularity of his early years. It is no longer enough just to pay pensions on time, and the years of rapid growth are over. The people have grown weary of corruption. Putin must support an aggressive expansionist policy if he is to survive politically.
Ukraine represents the Holy Grail of Putin’s restoration policy. If Ukraine is lost, his policy has failed, and Putin cannot accept defeat unless the costs of fighting the battle are too high. Putin understands he and Obama share a common belief the United States is weary of war, and wants to scale back its foreign involvements.
Putin believes without a strong U.S. hand, Poland, Germany and France will not counter Putin’s expansionism. Many international experts believe Putin will not stop with Crimea unless international pressure is placed upon Russia to reign in their expansionist policy.
While the time may not be now, many Bible scholars such as Louis Bauman, Charles Feinberg and Chuck Missler have warned that according to the Prophet Ezekiel, in the last days, a ruler will lead a coalition of Russia, Germany, Iran and other allies to invade the Middle East.
Some believe the Magog invasion of Ezekiel 38 will constitute WWIII, described in Revelation 6:8, in which one quarter of the world’s population is impacted by death, hunger and disease. One can only pray the 5’ 5” tall Vladimir Putin’s aggressive expansionism will be reigned in before he takes Russia down the slippery slope of war and eventually nuclear self destruction.
“…I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone… Then they shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 38:22 & 23.
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Dr. Stephen Johnston
Dr. Stephen Johnston