Back in August, I argued in Christian Post that the collapse in Afghanistan signaled the disintegration of America’s post-Christian empire, and that four successive American presidents had failed to “count the cost” of war, as Christ warned us to in Luke 14:
Which of you, wishing to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost to see if he has the resources to complete it? Otherwise, if he lays the foundation and is unable to finish the work, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This man could not finish what he started to build.’ Or what king on his way to war with another king will not first sit down and consider whether he can engage with ten thousand men the one coming against him with twenty thousand? And if he is unable, he will send a delegation while the other king is still far off, to ask for terms of peace.
The same thing is happening today in Ukraine. As I stated in my Afghanistan article, Christ was speaking within the historical context of the nearby revolt in Sepphoris, whose leaders revolted against Rome, did not count the cost of that revolt, did not sue for peace, and whose city was then destroyed. The scenario Christ laid out is not about rebellion specifically, and so has application to the situation surrounding Ukraine.
While it’s far too late for Afghanistan – the nation has already been destroyed by our benevolent butchers in Washington – there is time to count the cost of engaging in a European war before we stumble into another catastrophe. To anyone not possessed by the ruling class' ideology of nation building, it is abundantly transparent that the United States of 2022 lacks the internal stability, will, competence, and conviction to be involved in a major war. Any attempt to do so would make our decline all the more obvious.
From the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea, America’s domain of responsibility has exceeded its leaders' competence. The ruling elite has left a trail of broken nations in its wake, all the while presenting themselves as harmless bureaucratic administrators, simply spreading the “universal values” of democracy, human rights, and liberty. (If these values are truly universal, why do they have to be imposed down the barrel of a tank?) At least the pre-modern empires were honest about destroying nations.
When we pulled Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania into NATO, we signaled to a humiliated and resentful Russia that they were on borrowed time. When we backed the Ukrainian revolution (some might say “when we instigated the Ukrainian coup”) we signaled that Russia’s entrance into the “international community” of liberal democracies was imminent – whether they liked it or not. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, we surrounded Russia with an explicitly hostile nuclear-armed military alliance. Leave right or wrong aside – is our ruling class truly so ignorant and arrogant that they thought they could corner the Russian bear and not get bit? Russia did not and does not want to be part of the decadent liberal system. Culturally, Russia is Slavic, not Anglo-American; autocratic, not democratic; Orthodox, not post-Christian. As I explained in my piece on Afghanistan, the Bible and Christian political philosophy emphasizes that the order of nations is divinely appointed. See Romans 13:
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.
From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands.
And Deuteronomy 32
When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He divided the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.
Not that the people running America's foreign policy read their Bibles; they've forgotten what America's founders knew, that the powers (nations) that be are ordained of God – they are not toys to play with. Even if they were, America's ruling class simply lacks the ability to manage the informal empire they constructed. They act like God, but they can’t govern like Him.
The United States believed we would always hold the status of global superpower, that we would simply become freer and more tolerant while we dragged every other country along with us, kicking and screaming. In other words, we expected to live forever while we created heaven on Earth. Does Kabul look like heaven to you?
This internationalist narrative is and was a rogue religious narrative, a departure from America's biblical roots - except instead of working out our salvation with fear and trembling, we work out our salvation with shock and awe.
Charles is a risk analyst and columnist at TownhallFinance. He has written for National Review Online, AsiaTimes, RealClearMarkets, and the Theopolis Institute. @charlesgbowyer