"And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." (Rev. 18:2)
The ancient city of Babylon grew in size and importance from the days of Nimrod (Gen. 10:10) until it reached its greatest glory in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar (B.C. 604-562). As described by Herodotus, it was an exact square of some 15 miles on a side, or 60 miles around, and was surrounded by a brick wall 87 feet thick and 350 feet high, though probably that is a mistake, 100 feet being nearer the height. On the wall were 250 towers, and the top of the wall was wide enough to allow six chariots to drive abreast. Outside the wall was a vast moat surrounding the city, kept filled with water from the river Euphrates; and inside the wall, and not far from it, was another wall extending around the city.
Twenty-five magnificent avenues, 150 feet wide, ran across the city from north to south, and the same number crossed them at right angles from east to west, making 676 great squares, each nearly 3/5 of a mile on a side. The city was divided into two equal parts by the river Euphrates, that flowed diagonally through it, and whose banks within the city were walled up and pierced with brazen gates with steps leading down to the river. At the ends of the main avenues, on each side of the city, were gates, whose leaves of brass shone as they opened or closed in the rising or setting sun like "leaves of flame."
The Euphrates within the city was spanned by a bridge, at each side of which was a palace, and these palaces were connected by a subterranean passageway underneath the bed of the river, in which at different points were located sumptuous banqueting rooms constructed entirely of brass. Near one of these palaces stood the "Tower of Bel" or Babel, consisting of eight towers, each 75 feet high, rising one upon the other, with an outside winding stairway to its summit, which towers with the chapel on the top, made a height of 660 feet. The chapel itself, which was lavishly furnished, could be reckoned in today's dollars as approaching $1,000,000,000.00.
The "Hanging Gardens" of Babylon were renowned as one of the wonders of the Ancient World. These gardens were 400 feet square and were raised in terraces one above the other to a height of 350 feet. The topmost terrace was reached by staircases 19 feet wide. The top of each terrace was covered with large stones, on which was laid a bed of rushes, then a thick layer of asphalt, next, two courses of bricks cemented together, and finally, plates of lead to prevent leakage; it was then covered with earth and planted with shrubbery and large trees. The whole had the appearance from a distance of a forest covered mountain which was a very remarkable sight in the level plain of the Euphrates.
Babylon was probably the most magnificent city the world has ever seen; "poor" Jerusalem was but a small, provincial and tacky village in comparison! Babylon the Great - that "Great City" (Rev. 18:2); Jerusalem, the "Holy City," (Rev. 21:10) - "small and compact" (Psalm 122:3).
And what about Prophetic Babylon? It will, of course, be every bit as magnificent!
Before we set out on our hunt for this great city, however, let's deal with one of the biggest stumbling blocks to any search: the thought that "Prophetic Babylon" has anything at all to do with the ancient city, or that the verses which deal with this prophecy (i.e., Revelation 17 and 18; Isaiah chapters 13 and 14, and Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51) were fulfilled when Cyrus took Babylon in B.C. 541.
As strange as it might seem, there are some who insist that the prophecies concerning "Babylon" (again - Revelation 17 and 18, Isaiah chapters 13 and 14, and Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51) were fulfilled when the Medo-Persians captured Babylon in 541 B.C. - and that these verses have, therefore, nothing to do with events yet future. But there is too much in these chapters which were not accomplished when Cyrus took the ancient city of Babylon. For example, both the prophecies of Jeremiah and Isaiah, like those of the Revelation, indicate that Babylon [Prophetic Babylon] is to be destroyed suddenly and catastrophically - "in one short hour," NEVER TO BE INHABITED AGAIN!! But when Cyrus took the city in B.C. 541, he took it so quietly and with such little commotion that some of the inhabitants did not know until the third day that Belshazzar had been slain and the city taken.
Some years later, it revolted against Darius Hystaspis, and in B.C. 478 Xerxes took the city and plundered it. But he did not destroy it. In B.C. 331, Alexander the Great prepared to lay siege to the once again thriving and powerful city, but the citizens threw open the gates and received him with acclamation. During the subsequent wars of his generals, Babylon suffered much and was finally brought under the power of Seleucis. In B.C. 293 Seleucis founded Seleucia in the neighborhood of Babylon, and the rival city gradually drew off a large portion of Babylon's inhabitants so that by A.D. 15, Strabo spoke of the city as being largely deserted.
Nevertheless, there still existed within the city a large Jewish population left over from the "Captivity." Indeed, we find that the Apostle Peter wrote his First Epistle from Babylon in A.D. 60 (I Peter 5:13). About the middle of the Fifth Century, Theodoret spoke of Babylon as being inhabited only by Jews who still had three Jewish schools or "Yeshivas" there. In the last year of the same century, the Talmud was issued from Babylon and accepted as authoritative by Jews throughout the world.
In A.D. 917 Ibu Hankel mentioned Babylon as still being in existence, and by A.D. 1100 it had again grown into a city of some importance. Shortly afterwards, it was enlarged, fortified and renamed "Hillah." In 1898, Hillah contained about 10,000 inhabitants and was surrounded by fertile lands and beautiful groves which stretched along the Euphrates River.
During this entire period (B.C. 541 - A.D. 2011) it could never be said that "neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there, neither shall shepherds make their fold there" (Isa. 13:20). Nor could it be said of Babylon - "Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land WHEREIN NO MAN DWELLETH, neither doeth any son of man pass thereby." (Jer. 51:43). Nor could it be said, "... and they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations, but thou shalt be desolate forever, saith the Lord" (Jer. 51:26), for many towns and cities have been built from the ruins of Babylon - Seleucia by the Greeks, Ctesiphone by the Parthians, Al Maiden by the Persians, and Kufa by the Caliphs. Indeed, in Baghdad today (the capital of modern Iraq) Babylonian stamped bricks may be frequently noticed.
But Isaiah is still more specific, for he locates the time when his prophecy will be fulfilled. He calls it the "DAY OF THE LORD" (Isa. 13:9) - that is to say, at the end of the "Great Tribulation." Moreover, he says that when Babylon is destroyed, "The stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine" (Isa. 13:19; see also Luke 21:25-27). Surely nothing like this happened when Cyrus took Babylon in B.C. 541.
In the description of the destruction of the city of Babylon given in Revelation 18, we are told that Babylon's destruction will be accomplished in "ONE HOUR" (verse 19). Again - this is certainly not the description of events which surrounded Cyrus's taking of the city. In addition, we are told in the same chapter that she is to be destroyed by fire (Rev. 18:8-9, 18) and this is in exact harmony with the words of Isaiah 13:19 and Jeremiah 50:40. Moreover, in Revelation 16:17-19, we are told that an earthquake will shake the city at the time of its destruction. No such earthquake ever shook the city when Cyrus took it in B.C. 541.
Obviously, then, the Babylon that is described in Isaiah 13 and 14, Jeremiah 50 and 51 and in the Revelation is not the ancient city of Babylon, but some great "latter-day" nation which by means of its enormous military and economic might will establish its ascendancy over the world.
Lastly, there are those who insist that the prophecies which deal with Babylon refer to modern-day Iraq. Indeed, prior to the Gulf War, countless numbers of fundamentalist Christians could be found who were predicting doom for America in its confrontation with Iraq over Kuwait. Such thinking, of course, was moronic - U.S. forces sliced through Iraq like a knife through butter; and it happened again when General Franks troops captured Baghdad in 2003 - revealing in the process more about the real identity of Prophetic Babylon than most American Christians were (are) prepared to admit.
In Scripture, Babylon represents the kingdom and glory of Satan (Rev. 17:1-8); Jerusalem is the city of the Living God (Rev. 12:22).
Satan is called the "Prince of this World" (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11) over which sits Babylon, the city of Satan. What is meant by the term "world?" As we have discussed in previous sections of this book, the word "world" is the translation of the Greek word Kosmos, which means an harmonious order or arrangement, and it is used in three ways in the New Testament:
First, it means the MATERIAL UNIVERSE (Acts 17:14; Matt. 13:35; John 1:10; Mark 16:15).
THE INHABITANTS OF THE WORLD as whole (John 1:10; 3:16; 12:19; 17:21);
THE WHOLE RACE OF MAN ALIENATED FROM GOD AND HOSTILE TO THE CAUSE OF CHRIST (Heb. 11:38; John 14:17; 14:27; 15:18); this is but an extension of (a) above and is the meaning we are most concerned with here.
Third, it means the whole circle of WORLDLY goods, endowments, riches, advantages, pleasures, which though hollow and fleeting, stir our desires and seduce us from God, so that they are obstacles to the cause of Christ (I John 3:17; Matt. 16:26; I Cor 2:12; 3:19, 7:31; Titus 2:12; II Peter 1:4; 2:20; I John 2:15-17; James 1:27). It is the world of our split level homes, two cars, good careers, good educations, bank accounts, vacations, etc. It is when these pleasures and even so-called necessities of life "possess our hearts" and crowd out our commitment to the Lord and to His people that they have in reality become part of the kosmos.
Moreover, the word Kosmos, taken in conjunction with the three meanings described above, implies that behind all this there is a mind - the Prince of this World - which gives order and arrangement to it all. John says:
"The whole KOSMOS [as described above] lieth in the evil one." (John 5:19)
He is the KOSMOKRATER or world-ruler - a word which, however, appears only once, and is used in the plural of his lieutenants: "the WORLD RULERS OF THIS DARKNESS" (Eph. 6:12).
Politics, education, literature, science, art, law, commerce, music, our homes, careers, etc. - together they constitute the "kosmos." Subtract them, and the world as a coherent system ceases to exist. It is the development of these things that constitutes history. The question is, which direction is history tending? What is its ultimate goal? - BABYLON THE GREAT, the masterpiece of Satan!! That is the direction of the world's advance - the kingdom of Antichrist, and we are only seconds away as God's prophetic clock winds down.
The world (kosmos) is Satan's grand creation and he has directed all his strength and ingenuity into causing it to flourish. To what end? To capture man's allegiance and draw him to himself. He has one object - to establish his own dominion in human hearts worldwide! Babylon is the centerpiece, the pinnacle of his great design.
Commerce is at the heart of Babylon! It is at the heart of Satan:
"The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying...
"Now, thou son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyrus [Satan],
"And say unto Tyrus, O thou that are situate (situated) at the entry ["midst" - is the more accurate translation] of the sea, which are a MERCHANT of the people ... [the traders of the earth] have made thy beauty perfect.
"Tarshish [the trading nations] ... traded in thy fairs.
"Son of man, say unto the Prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord God, because thine heart is lifted up and thou hast said, I am a god, I sit in the seat of God IN THE MIDST OF THE SEAS ...
"By thy great wisdom and by thy traffic [commerce] thou hast increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches:
"By the multitudes of thy merchandise they have filled ... thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: ...
"Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by ... the iniquity of thy traffic [commerce] ..." (Ezek. 27:1-3, 12; 28:2, 5,16, 18).
At the heart of commerce is money. Money is addictive and all too often leads the possessor of it into unrighteousness. The Word of God speaks of "the mammon of unrighteousness" (Luke 16:9). The corruption which results from the "love of money" and the things which it can buy, invariably leads away from God.
"They that desire to be rich fall into a temptation and snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition. "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which some reaching after, have been led astray ... and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (I Tim. 6:9-10)
With all this in mind, let's now begin our quest in earnest. We will use as our principle guide the best evangelical review on the subject - Things To Come, by J. Dwight Pentecost of Dallas Theological Seminary. In doing so, we will gradually paint a picture of "Prophetic Babylon" and let the reader draw his own conclusions. We will begin with a discussion and explanation of the "Times of the Gentiles." Why? Because Prophetic Babylon is to be the culmination of the full development of Gentile world power - its final and complete fulfillment.
In Luke 21:24, Jesus said:
"Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24)
This time period - the "Times of the Gentiles" - is one of the most important time periods in the prophetic Scriptures. It is to be a period of time in which Jerusalem is to be under the dominion of Gentile world power. This period began with the Babylonian captivity when Jerusalem fell into the hands of the Gentiles, and as J. Dwight Pentecost writes:
"... it has continued unto the present time and well continue through the Tribulation Period, in which era the Gentile powers will be judged. The dominion of the Gentiles [will] end at the second advent of Messiah to the earth."
In other words, the "Times of the Gentiles" will end at the second coming of the Lord in glory. While there are some who contend that the "Times of the Gentiles" ended in 1967 when Israel retook the City of Jerusalem, most evangelicals reject this thesis because the present Israeli occupation of Jerusalem is destined to be cut short when the Gentiles will once again wrest the city from the Jews for 1,260 days (3-1/2 years) shortly after the Abomination of Desolation during the Tribulation. (Rev. 11:2)
Scofield defines the time limits thus:
"The times of the Gentiles is that long period beginning with Babylonian captivity of Judah under Nebuchadnezzar, and [which is] to be brought to an end by the destruction of Gentile world power ... [at] the coming of the Lord in glory." (Dan. 2:34, 35, 44 and Rev. 19:11, 21)
Scofield, then agrees with Pentecost - the "Times of the Gentiles" will end at the Second Coming. The fullest description of the period is given to us in Daniel. Edward Dennett writes:
"What we have in Daniel is ... the course and character of Gentile power, from the destruction of Jerusalem [under Nebuchadnezzar] on to the appearing of Christ, together with the position of the remnant and the sufferings of the Jewish people, while the Gentiles possess the dominion, until at last God, in His faithfulness in pursuance of His purposes, interposes, and for His own glory, works for the rescue of His elect EARTHLY people (i.e., the Jews)."
The first prophetic outline of the course of this period - the "Times of the Gentiles" - is given in Daniel 2, where, through the medium of the "great image," the successive empires that would exercise Gentile dominion over Jerusalem are outlined. The term "empire" as used here is better understood as "civilization;" the English word "empire" implies mere political or military unity, while Daniel has in mind a unity of far greater dimensions than what the word "empire" denotes - a unity which embraces a common culture, law, science, social structure, religion, etc., and is best expressed in the English language by the word "civilization."
The Book of Daniel reads:
"And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.
"Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.
"And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.
"The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.
"The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things of any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.
"Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:
"Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
"Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:
"And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
"He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
"The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?
"Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king;
"But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;
"Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
"This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
"His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
"Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
"Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
"This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
"Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory." And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.
"And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
"And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
"And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom (i.e., the fourth kingdom, the kingdom of iron) shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
"And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
"And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
"Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure." (Dan. 2:1-3, 5, 10, 14, 19-22, 26-28, 31-45)
Lewis Sperry Chaffer, founder and first President of Dallas Theological Seminary, elaborates on these verses:
"Five world dominions in their succession are foreseen ... FOUR of these are represented by the portions of the image and the fifth as that which will arise upon the wreckage of the four ... [after] the judgments of God fall ... . The first, [Ancient] Babylon as the head of gold, was already at the zenith of its powers when Daniel gave his interpretation. The second was Media-Persia in which kingdom also Daniel lived to share. The third dominion was Greece under Alexander, and the fourth was Rome, which was in its fullest development in the day that Christ was here on earth. It is this iron kingdom which merges in its final form [still as the fourth great Gentile world kingdom] into feet of iron and clay. It is in this time of the feet of iron and clay [of the fourth world kingdom] that the "Smiting Stone" [as the Fifth Kingdom - the Kingdom of Christ] strikes [and shatters the image - that is to say, Gentile world power]."
The second prophetic outline of the course of this period is given in Daniel 7. Whereas in Daniel 2, the course of world empire is viewed from man's perspective, in Daniel 7, the same course of world empire is viewed from the Divine viewpoint, where the Gentile empires are seen not as an attractive image, but as four wild, voracious beasts, which devour and destroy all before them and, consequently, are worthy of judgment.
The Book of Daniel reads:
"In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.
"Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
"And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
"The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.
"And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.
"After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.
"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
"I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
"I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
"A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
"I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.
"As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.
"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
"And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
"I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.
"These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.
"But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
"Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;
"And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.
"I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;
"Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
"Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
"And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
"And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
"But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
"And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
"Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart. (Daniel 7:1-28)
Arno C. Gaebelein explains this passage as follows:
"The gold in the dream image, and the first beast represent the [ancient] Babylonian empire. In the beginning it was a lion with wings, but they were plucked out; it lost its strength and though it had a man's heart it was a beast still ... The bear stands for the Medo-Persian empire, the empire seen as of silver, the chest and arms. One paw is lifted up, because the Persian element was stronger than that of the Medes. The bear had three ribs in its mouth because Susiana, Lydia, and Asia Minor had been conquered by this power. The leopard, with four wings and four heads, is the picture of the Graeco-Macedonian empire, corresponding to the thighs of brass in the image of Nebuchadnezzar. The four wings denote swiftness, the four heads the partition of this empire into the kingdom of Syria, Egypt, Macedonia, and Asia Minor ... we call attention to the fact that in the selection of beasts to represent these world powers who domineer the 'Times of the Gentile,' God tells us that their moral character is BEASTLY. The lion devours, the bear crushes, the leopard springs upon its prey ... then we have the fourth world empire, the iron one, ROME. It is described in a way as none of the others are. It is dreadful, terrible, exceeding strong; it has great iron teeth. It devours, breaks in pieces and stamps down. It has ten horns [which correspond to the ten - toes of the image] AND IN THEIR MIDST RISES UP A LITTLE ["YOUNGER" OR "HINDERMOST"] HORN ..."
Thus, the Scriptures reveal that from the time of Daniel until the time when Jerusalem shall be given freedom (ON A PERMANENT BASIS) from Gentile dominion at the second advent of Christ, there will be four great empires which shall rise and fall. The period of Tribulation (the last seven years of the Times of the Gentiles) will be the final epoch in the development of this period.
There are several important passages of Scripture which have an important bearing on the question of the final form of Gentile world power. In the descriptions of the "Times of the Gentiles" given in Daniel 2, the prophet deals in a general way with the four successive empires which will in their turn possess world power. But he becomes quite specific with the end of that power. In Daniel 2:40-44, the final form of Gentile power is described. Pentecost writes:
"... the final form of Gentile power [is as follows]:
"The ... form of ... [this power] is an outgrowth from and final development of the fourth great empire, the ROMAN. This final form is represented by the ten toes [and the ten horns], (Dan. 2:41-42, see also Dan. 7.)
- ";The final form of this power is marked by division ...
"The final form of Gentile power is marked by a federation [of that power], since the mixture of the iron and clay [in the feet of the image] is an unnatural one, it would seem to suggest that the federation is not brought about by force, else this condition would not continue. But it is brought about by mutual consent, so that each member in the alliance retains its own identity. This is in harmony with Revelation 17:13."
Now we come to a very important point. Four great world empires [civilizations] of Gentile origin are spoken of by the Prophet Daniel - four and only four! - the ten toes of the image being only the final form of the last great empire - ROME. There is no interruption here in the continuity of the fourth great empire and the imagery used does not picture the death of the fourth empire and its later resurrection - but it speaks of one continuous empire up through time from Christ to the present.
Yet, it is commonly assumed by the layman that Rome collapsed in 476 A.D. - never to rise again. But Roman civilization itself never collapsed and has continued to this day. It is what we today call "Western Civilization" - a term familiar to any college student - and a term which denotes European Civilization, that is to say, that civilization which derives it force and origin from Ancient Rome. Thus, while it is true that the POLITICAL unity of "the one-world that was Rome's" - of Roman Civilization - was lost in 476 A.D., the civilization of Rome itself has survived to become the dominant civilization of this planet - directly holding sway over Western Europe and North America and holding limited sway over Central and South America, Africa, and to a lesser extent, even Asia.
The outline of the history of the Western World is best understood as a civilization which, while having lost its political unity in 476 A.D., has continued as a dynamic, powerful, and culturally unified civilization to this very day.
In this connection, it is important to note that Western Civilization is to be differentiated from the native civilization of China, Japan, India, Africa, and Central and South America. These are civilizations of totally different origins and it is these very civilizations that Western Civilization has come to dominate to a greater or lesser degree, directly or indirectly. The science, technology, literature, law, culture, religion, and languages (especially English, and to a lesser extent, Spanish and French) of this great civilization dominates the earth as no prior civilization has ever done, and all this in spite of the fact that there has been no political unity within the confines of this civilization for some 1500 years. The political unity of this great civilization has remained profoundly elusive and ethereal - always just out of reach of those who so ardently sought it - Charlemagne, Louis XIV, Napoleon, and even Hitler. Each failed in his turn. AND THIS IS EXACTLY THE CONDITION OF THINGS PROPHESIED BY DANIEL. Thus, the outline of the history of the Western World is best understood as a civilization which, while having lost its political unity in 476 A.D., has continued as a dynamic, powerful, and culturally unified civilization to this very day.
This is the view of Pentecost. Pentecost writes:
"It would seem best to view this Roman Empire as a continuous development from its original or initial form at the time of Christ until its final form at the second coming of Christ."
G.N.H. Peters echoes the view of Pentecost:
"It may seem a hard saying, but it is one which the facts fully bear out ... that the one key to the whole subject [of the history of Western Civilization] - without which medieval history is simply an unintelligible chaos - is no other than THE CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE [in the form of Western Civilization]. As long as people are taught that the Empire came to an end in the year 476, a true understanding of the next one thousand years becomes utterly impossible. No one can understand either the politics or the literature of that whole period unless he constantly bears in mind that in the ideas of the men of those days, the Roman Empire, the Empire of Augustus, Constantine, and Justinian, was not a thing of the past, but a thing of the present."
IN THIS CONNECTION, IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE CIVILIZATION FINALLY BEQUEATHED BY ANCIENT ROME TO THE WESTERN WORLD WAS NOT THE "PAGAN" ROME OF CICERO, NERO, AND CALIGULA, BUT THE "CHRISTIAN" ROME OF CONSTANTINE - A ROME THAT INCLUDED AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF IT AN APOSTATE FORM OF CHRISTIANITY IN THE FIGURE OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
It world seem, then, that the problem in acquiring a proper perspective of the fourth great Gentile power is not so much in seeing this empire as a REVIVAL of the "Roman Empire" as it is in seeing the recasting of the CONTINUING sphere of this same empire into its final ten-toed or ten-horned configuration.
But what of the extent of this empire? What are its proper prophetic boundaries? It has commonly been held that the last stage of the Roman Empire (it's ten-toed configuration), will coincide with the boundaries of Caesar's Empire - that of ancient Rome. But, once again, this is an argument based on a misunderstanding conveyed in the English word "empire," which denotes a political, geographic or military unity, rather than in the English word, "civilization," which is the meaning properly conveyed in the prophecy. Concerning the boundaries of the "New Roman Empire," Pentecost writes:
"There seems to be good reason for holding the view that the final future boundaries of the last Gentile world power need not coincide with the former boundaries, BUT, IN FACT, MAY EXCEED THEM GREATLY ... Scripture seems to indicate an empire of even greater dimensions than [of ancient Rome]: "... power was given him [Antichrist as head of this final form of the fourth great Gentile empire] over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations" (Rev. 13:7) ... THE RELATIONSHIP EXISTING BETWEEN THE "BEAST" AND THE "WOMAN" (Rev. 17) SUGGESTS THE SCOPE OF THIS EMPIRE."
Pentecost then quotes F.C. Jennings as follows:
"... the Scriptures tell us unequivocally that the world empire that Rome possessed [speaking here of the political unity that the Roman civilization had at one time held] will again be restored to her, and my purpose is to gather such light as it has pleased the God of all grace to give in His word, as to the extent and limitations of that revived ... [political unity]. The boundaries of the [new] empire have been assumed to have ... the same geographical boundaries ... [as the old empire]. THIS I TAKE TO HAVE BEEN A FUNDAMENTAL MISTAKE, for it ignores completely the introduction of another ... basic and characteristic element, into the earth. Mere geographic boundaries are but little in accord with the peculiarly spiritual character of this era; the introduction of a distinct spiritual element, demands even for earthly boundaries, a spiritual measurement ...
"Turning then to the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, we see the whole stage filled with two personalities only: a 'Beast' and a 'Woman' ... these two ... picture ... the future prophetic earth ... there can be no argument or discussion as to this speaking of both the CIVIL [political, economic, and military] and ECCLESIASTICAL [religious] conditions that will rule and characterize that part of the earth that is within the limits or boundaries of Prophecy. The whole of it will be filled with what shall answer to this 'Beast' and this 'Woman.' The two [the "Beast (which answers to the Civil Power) and the "Woman" (which answers to the Religious Power) are thus indissolubly co-related, and tell us to what end all [this is] trending; and that is that there will eventually be a one World-Empire and a one World-Church, and these will cover the whole of what is now called CHRISTENDOM; the one Empire supporting the one Church, [as] the 'Beast' in the picture supports the 'Woman,' and the 'Woman' is supported by the 'Beast' ...
"... we are compelled to see that the boundaries of the Empire will be the boundaries of the professed, but UTTERLY APOSTATE CHRISTIANITY; and vice-versa, the boundaries of the apostate church will be exactly co-terminus with those of the Empire. But that being assured and clear, it follows beyond all question, that the revived Roman Empire will include ... every country everywhere in which there is any claim to apostate Christianity at all, AND SO WILL INCLUDE NORTH AMERICA ..."
Prophetic Babylon will thus be the indissoluble union of the Apostate Church (the Woman) with GENTILE world power (the Beast) as pictured in Revelation 17 in the description of a woman drunk with the blood of the saints and riding on the back of a beast. The union of the Church with GENTILE world power was formalized in the union of the old Roman Empire with the Roman Catholic Church under Constantine at the beginning of the fourth Century A.D. It was carried over into the Medieval World and has characterized the civilization of the West to this very day, spreading even into the Protestant world. This union of civil and religious authority will characterize the final form of the Fourth Wild Beast - known in the Scripture as "Prophetic Babylon." The borders of the "Revived Roman Empire," then, will reach out and encompass all of Christendom.
But we must never forget that the roots of this vast latter-day empire rest in Europe. Indeed, it is extremely important to bear in mind that the nations of Europe are exactly those nations which were chiefly responsible during the last five centuries for spreading Western Civilization through their system of colonization to the four corners of the world - to North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, India, and even parts of Asia.
The fact is, eighty years ago, the European nations controlled through their system of colonies almost one-half of the land surface of the globe! And while today they have lost their colonial empires, the civilization they introduced to these areas still survives and in many instances is thriving and prospering more than in the original "mother countries" (e.g., Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc.). The Beast of Daniel (Chapter 7) is thus represented by a body - which stands for the full extent of Western Civilization - and the head with ten horns - which stand for those countries of Europe chiefly responsible for carrying this civilization to the world – namely, Britain, France Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Denmark and Sweden.
There also seems to be room to believe that a New Confederation organized under the authority of the US could be created by the United States consisting of ten nations that would take the place of NATO, the EU and even the UN - all of which are rapidly loosing their legitimacy. Indeed, Senator John McCain discussed the possibility of forming just such a new coalition when he ran for the presidency in 2008; he called it, "The League of Democracies." Concerning this matter Robert Dreyfuss wrote at the time:
"To combat what he [McCain] likes to call 'the transcendent challenge [of] radical Islamic extremism', McCain is drawing up plans for a new global institution that he calls the League of Democracies that can bypass the balky United Nations … and support a revived US unilateralism that will engage in 'rogue state rollback' against his version of the 'axis of evil'. In all, it's a new apparatus designed to carry the 'war on terror' deep into the twenty-first century."
TIME WILL TELL.
Now, something new is added to the picture of the Beast which represents the final form of the fourth great GENTILE world power - AN ELEVENTH HORN!!! Pentecost writes:
"From among these ten kingdoms there will arise ... [another which] will have control over the whole dominion ..."
S. Frank Logsdon (1907-1987) was a Baptist preacher, popular author and Bible conference speaker; Logsdon pastored Moody Memorial Church of Chicago.
In other words, there shall arise an eleventh nation out from the original ten (an offspring of the ten) which will grow up and eventually dominate the whole of Western Civilization. And it is out from this eleventh nation that the Antichrist shall come [please see Daniel 7]. This eleventh horn [nation] is described as little or younger. The Hebrew word translated here as little means hindermost or that which comes after and conveys the thought of youth or younger as in the term, little girl. (Daniel 7:8 and 24). It is thus to be understood that this eleventh horn is one of those nations colonized by the original ten. This horn is described as more stout or much stronger than the original [first] ten (Dan. 7:20).
We ask the reader now, which nation could this possibly be? Brazil? Argentina? Canada? Mexico? Australia? But, come now, let's reason further. Some years ago, S. Franklyn Logsdon wrote:
S. Frank Logsdon (1907-1987) was a Baptist preacher, popular author and Bible conference speaker; Logsdon pastored Moody Memorial Church of Chicago.
"Man seems to have a special delight and a strong aptitude for the use of nicknames and symbolical terms. The 'Bambino' would of course be the home run swatting Babe Ruth, with the 'Hammer,' Henry Aaron, the current champion in that category ... Everyone conversant with boxing would recognize the 'Brown Bomber' as Joe Lewis ... . So also with the Scripture. Prophetic entities, not specifically named in the Bible, may be identified by representations or by descriptions [such as the "Olive Tree" for Israel and the "Lampstand" for the Church] ... The chief reason why many nations of today are not mentioned by name in the Scripture is simply and obviously because ... [they] were not in existence in Bible days. The [human] writer did not know the ethnic names. We must, therefore, search for designations or names or both, which in a convincing manner are applicable [to the world situation of today]. By description, we can identify people, places, and things. Thus, it should not be impossible, or even difficult to identify nations in this manner."
The Bible describes Prophetic Babylon - the eleventh horn (i.e., the "younger" horn) - as follows [and here we only use descriptions of Prophetic Babylon that are generally recognized as such by "mainline" evangelicals):
She dwells in the midst of many waters - she is protected by the waters [or oceans] which surround her [literally, she is said to dwell "in the heart of the seas" - Pember, Earth's Earliest Ages, pg. 46). Indeed, Antichrist is pictured by Ezekiel as exulting in the strength of his sea-girt nation, and likening himself, in proud reliance upon his inaccessible dwelling, to the God that sitteth above the heavens [Ezekiel 28:1-2; Jeremiah 51:13).
Her People are a mingled people - that is to say, a "melting pot." (Jeremiah 50:37).
She evidently has never known the heel of a conqueror and is exceedingly powerful militarily (Revelation 18:4-5 - implied, Jer. 50:23).
The nations of the earth are dominated by her (Rev. 18:9); she is an arrogant, proud, and haughty nation (Jer. 50:23).
She is the greatest economic power in the world, a power so great that the nations of the earth are able to grow rich if they can trade with her or are allowed access to her domestic markets in which to sell their goods (Revelation 18:3, 11, 12).
By means of her economic power [covetousness] she controls the world; gluttony reigns as the people (or the elites which control this nation) live sumptuously [but want more - their appetite never satisfied], while many in the world starve (Jeremiah 50:38; 51:12-13).
The nations of the earth must trade with her by sea (a confirmation of #1 above - Revelation 18:19, 23).
The people of Babylon are exceedingly materialistic and are madly in love with their worldly possessions which have become their idols (Jeremiah 50:38); her tastes are extravagant (Rev. 18:14); she is a nation of great material attainments; and her achievements in the "fine arts" [i.e., music, dance, literature, films, etc.] are renowned throughout the world and copied everywhere (implied - Rev. 18:22; Jer. 51:53).
Babylon is described as a vast latter-day nation, not as a single city (Jer. 50-51). In fact, she is a nation of MANY influential cities (Rev. 18:18). In this connection, it is necessary to note that we are here talking not of a mere city to be rebuilt on the site of Ancient Babylon; such a concept is in conflict with Isa. 13:19-22 - please see the note on page 1347 of the Scofield Reference Bible.
Babylon is described as a nation which at one time was a God-fearing nation [a "Golden Cup" in the Lord's hand], but a nation which left God and fell into degradation and then which intoxicated the rest of the world with her iniquity. (Jer. 51:7).
Finally, she is a nation that "has reached for the stars [heavens]" - i.e., space (Jer. 51:53).
Now, we ask the reader to put all emotion and feelings aside, and to decide the following question in light of the cold, hard, SCRIPTURAL facts: which nation are we talking about here? We want to emphasize that what has been presented is nothing new. It's just that evangelicals refuse to come to grips with the truth of the prophetic Scriptures.
One additional description should be noted: prophetic Babylon is also described as a nation which shall pose as Israel's chief ally and protector in the "latter days" [Please see Daniel and the Latter Days by Robert Duncan Culver, Chapter 4; please also see Daniel 7]. We ask the reader to name the nation today which is Israel's chief and only ally, that one nation more than any other nation which poses as Israel's defender - be honest, which nation is this?
Evangelicals have in the past contended that Antichrist would secure world dominion as king of the Ten Confederated Kingdoms (evidently a group of Western European states - though it's anyone's guess as to which states these might be, and it's probably not all that important to single the specific states out - after all, what the Bible has in mind here is Western Europe taken as a whole).
But the Scripture in no place identifies the Antichrist as the king of these nations. While the Bible does indicate that he will dominate them, it does not say that he will rule directly over them, but that he will be an ELEVENTH KING OF AN ELEVENTH NATION (see Daniel 7:24). [In this connection it is interesting to note that the number "eleven" is the number of apostasy.]
Moreover, in Daniel chapter seven, concerning the Ten Confederated Kingdoms [the ten horns of the fourth wild beast - verses 7 and 8], the Antichrist is described not as one of the "ten kings," but as an eleventh king of an eleventh nation, a nation independent of, and different from the original ten, a nation, however, which evidently derives its heritage from the original ten nations.
Is there any doubt that the United States has derived its heritage, its culture, and over 80% of its people from Europe? Can there really be any doubt as to the identity of this great latter-day nation? - are we not speaking here of the United States of America?
The Bible speaks of a "BEAST NATION" (Dan. 7:7) that shall arise in the "end of days;" a nation that will be "... DREADFUL" and "TERRIBLE," and "STRONG EXCEEDINGLY" with "great iron teeth;" one that will "DEVOUR" and "BRAKE IN PIECES" the rest of the nations of the world (Daniel 7:7); and, finally, one that Isaiah describes as an "OVERFLOWING SCOURGE" (Is. 28:18) that will gain mastery over the entire earth and establish a ONE-WORLD EMPIRE that will bring ruin and poverty to the peoples and nations of the world.
America's presence today fills the world like some mighty colossus. She stands as a giant in a world filled with midgets.
What nation are we talking about here? - Russia? China? Japan? The European Community? An Islamic confederation of nations (a kind of new Caliphate)? No! - only DUMB evangelical Christians are disposed to believe that it could be any one of these nations or combination of nations. The fact is,
"America's presence today fills the world like some mighty colossus. She stands as a giant in a world filled with midgets. Her existence shatters the pretense of all those who have gone before her - of Egypt, Assyria, Persia, even of ancient Rome - and she inhabits and diffuses the earth with her omnipotence and Titan-like bearing."
LIKE ROME BEFORE IT, THE UNITED STATES HAS ACQUIRED AN EMPIRE THAT CAN BE HELD TOGETHER ONLY BY BRUTE MILITARY FORCE - for it cannot possibly be imagined that if the millions and millions (even billions) of people that the U.S. has ruthlessly subjected and brought into its orbit had the vote, they would vote to remain in that system. What benefit do those who toil in the sweat shops of America's multi-national corporations overseas or those whose lands are being stripped of their mineral and agricultural wealth derive from this pitiless and cold-hearted system. No! - these people can be held in check only by brute military power.
IN DEFENSE OF THIS EMPIRE, AMERICA HAS CREATED A POWERFUL MILITARY MACHNE - INDEED, THE GREATEST MILITARY MACHINE THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN - AND HAS GARRISONED IT THROUGHOUT THE WORLD IN A BASE-SYSTEM VERY SIMILAR TO ANCIENT ROME'S.
Indeed, the distinguished author and academician, Chalmers Johnson - whose books include The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic and Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire - writes:
"Our [military] garrisons encircle the planet. This vast network of American bases on every continent except Antarctica actually constitutes a new form of empire -- an empire of bases with its own geography not likely to be taught in any high school geography class. Without grasping the dimensions of this globe-girdling BASEWORLD, one can't begin to understand the size and nature of our imperial aspirations ..."
"With the exception of those who have served in the U.S. military, Americans are almost entirely ignorant of the existence of this INFRASTRUCTURE OF COERCION AND DEATH. If they are dimly aware that the U.S. has some foreign military bases, they have little idea that they exist for purposes other than to defend the people of the 'host' nations."
Dr. Joseph Gerson, the Director of Programs of the American Friends Service Committee in New England, comments on this system as follows:
"At root, this entire system serves as an INTEGRATED GLOBAL INFRASTRUCTURE FOR IMPERIAL DOMINATON. Not even Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar or Benjamin Disraeli [of Great Britain] had such a host of mighty fortresses."
In this connection, it MUST be noted that the military machine that this IMPERIAL BASE SYSTEM supports cannot in any way be compared to the relatively archaic, underfunded, and under-equipped armies that Europe, Russia and China are capable of deploying. It's a supper-sophisticated killing machine deploying technologies and equipment unheard of in the armies of Europe, Russia and China - a military machine consisting of a "standing ground army" (including the Marine Corps as well as Reserve and National Guard units capable of immediate deployment) that approaches 1,000,000 men.
When the 1,000,000 or so men and women of the air force (with its thousands of strike aircraft scattered in bases all over the world), and the navy with its hundreds of ships including its thirteen "magnificent" super carriers - oceanic BATTLESTARS such as the Kitty Hawk, the Constellation, the Enterprise, the John F. Kennedy, the Nimitz, the Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Carl Vinson, the Theodore Roosevelt, the Abraham Lincoln, the George Washington, the John C. Stennis, the Harry S. Truman, the Ronald Reagan and the newest largest aircraft carrier the USS Gerald Ford - the size of this military machine becomes staggering. [This figure includes navy and air force reserve and National Guard units capable of immediate deployment.]
"It's not easy to assess the size or exact the value of our empire of bases. Official records on these subjects are misleading, although instructive. According to the Defense Department's annual 'Base Structure Report', which itemizes foreign and domestic U.S. military real estate, the Pentagon currently owns or rents 702 overseas bases in about 130 countries and has another 6,000 bases in the United States and its territories. Pentagon bureaucrats calculate that it would require at least $113.2 billion to replace just the foreign bases -- surely far too low a figure but still larger than the gross domestic product of most countries -- and an estimated $600 billion to replace all of them. The military high command deploys to our overseas bases some 253,288 uniformed personnel (not including those currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan), plus an equal number of dependents and Department of Defense civilian officials, and employs an additional 44,446 locally hired foreigners. The Pentagon claims that these bases contain 44,870 barracks, hangars, hospitals, and other buildings, which it owns, and that it leases 4,844 more.
The Pentagon has $5-billion-worth of military and espionage installations in Britain, which have long been conveniently disguised as Royal Air Force bases.
"These numbers, although staggeringly large, do not begin to cover all the actual bases we occupy globally. The Base Status Report fails to mention, for instance, any garrisons in Kosovo -- even though it is the site of the huge Camp Bondsteel, built in 1999 and maintained ever since by Kellogg, Brown & Root. The Report similarly omits bases in Afghanistan, Iraq, ISRAEL, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, and Uzbekistan, although the U.S. military has established colossal base structures … [in these countries] in the two-and-a-half years since 9/11.
"For Okinawa, the southernmost island of Japan, which has been an American military colony for the past 58 years, the report deceptively lists only one Marine base, Camp Butler, when in fact Okinawa "hosts" ten Marine Corps bases, including Marine Corps Air Station Futenma occupying 1,186 acres in the center of that modest-sized island's second largest city. (Manhattan's Central Park, by contrast, is only 843 acres.) The Pentagon similarly fails to note all of the $5-billion-worth of military and espionage installations in Britain, which have long been conveniently disguised as Royal Air Force bases. If there were an honest count, the actual size of our military empire would probably top 1,000 different bases in other people's countries, but no one -- possibly not even the Pentagon -- knows the exact number for sure, although it has been distinctly on the rise in recent years."
According to Johnson, the mission of this huge BASE SYSTEM is -
To reinforce the status quo: for example the deterrent role of U.S. bases in South Korea, and the intimidating role of many of the U.S. bases in Middle East which are designed to ensure continued U.S. privileged access to, and control of, the region's oil.
To encircle enemies: as was the case with the Soviet Union and China during the Cold War and China to this day. This is a role played by U.S. bases in Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Australia, Pakistan, Diego Garcia, and in many of the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia
To serve & reinforce the aircraft carriers, destroyers, nuclear armed submarines and other warships of the U.S. Navy. This includes bases in Okinawa, Yokuska outside Tokyo, and "visiting forces" and "access" agreements in the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and many other countries.
To train U.S. forces, as was long the case for bombardiers in Vieques and as jungle war fighting and other training which continues in Okinawa.
To function as jumping off points for U.S. foreign military interventions as: the cases of Okinawa, the Philippines, Korea, Spain, Italy, Honduras, Germany and now - with the changing missions of U.S. forces - new bases in Eastern Europe, Kuwait and in Iraq.
To facilitate C3I: command, control, communications and intelligence, including essential roles in nuclear war fighting, and the use of space for intelligence and warfare as we saw in Afghanistan and Iraq. U.S.bases in Okinawa, Qatar, Australia AND EVEN CHINA serve these functions. [Yes! - U.S. bases in China; which is the exact opposite of what so many Christian nincompoops and other "conspiracy ninnies" believe who contend that China has bases in the U.S. (which is not true).]
To control the governments of host nations. Japan, Korea (where U.S. military forces were deeply involved in military coups,) Germany, Saudi Arabia, and today's Iraq begin the list.
"Once upon a time, you could trace the spread of imperialism by counting up colonies. AMERICA'S VERSION OF THE COLONY IS THE MILITARY BASE. By following the changing politics of global basing, one can learn much about our ever larger imperial stance and the militarism that grows with it. Militarism and imperialism are Siamese twins joined at the hip. Each thrives off the other."
From where the US controls the Balkans
Once upon a time, you could trace the spread of imperialism by counting up colonies. AMERICA'S VERSION OF THE COLONY IS THE MILITARY BASE.
"Marine Brig. Gen. Mastin Robeson, commanding our 1,800 troops occupying the old French Foreign Legion base at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti at the entrance to the Red Sea, claims that in order to put 'preventive war' into action, we require a 'global presence,' by which he means gaining hegemony over any place that is not already under our thumb. According to the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, the idea is to create 'a global cavalry' that can ride in from 'frontier stockades' and shoot up the 'bad guys' as soon as we get some intelligence on them." [Which is, incidentally, exactly what the Americans at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti did when they sent troops and specter gunships to kill al Qaeda personnel that had been trapped in southern Somalia by Ethiopian troops operating in conjunction with the Americans.]
Johnson reports that our BASE SYSTEM now includes six SUPER-BASES in Iraq, including bases at Baghdad International Airport, Tallil air base near Nasariyah, in the western desert near the Syrian border, and at Bashur air field in the Kurdish region of the north, Camp Anaconda, etc.
NONE OF THESE SUPER-BASES ARE SCHEDULED TO BE CLOSED WHEN THE AMERICANS SUPPOSEDLY LEAVE IRAQ. THOSE WHO "MAN" THESE BASES WILL SIMPLY BE RE-DESIGNATED AS "SUPPORT PERSONNEL" RATHER THAN AS "COMBAT PERSONNEL
In addition, the U.S. now controls the whole northern quarter of Kuwait -- 1,600 square miles out of Kuwait's 6,900 square miles -- which is being used as a logistical center for American forces in the Middle East.
Other countries where the U.S. has recently established bases - including several SUPER-BASES - are Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Bulgaria; in Asia -- Pakistan (where we have four bases), India, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and even, unbelievably, Vietnam; in North Africa -- Morocco, Tunisia, and especially Algeria (scene of the slaughter of some 100,000 civilians since 1992, when, to quash an election, the military took over, backed by our country and France); and in West Africa -- Senegal, GHANA, Mali, and Sierra Leone (even though it has been torn by civil war since 1991).
The models for all these new installations, according to Pentagon sources, are the string of bases we have built around the Persian Gulf in the last two decades in such anti-democratic autocracies as Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.
US bases in Bulgaria; similar bases exist elsewhere in the Balkans.
Johnson says that most of these new bases will be what the military calls "LILY PADS" to which our troops can jump like so many well-armed frogs from the homeland, our NATO bases, or - as Johnson says "from our bases in such docile satellites as Japan, Britain and Germany."
BUT WHILE THIS BASE-SYSTEM IS A WONDER TO BEHOLD IN ITS BREADTH AND SOPHISTICATION, ONE MUST BEAR IN MIND THAT IT EXISTS SOLELY TO IMPOSE A BRUTAL SYSTEM OF MISERY AND SORROW ON THOSE OVER WHICH IT STANDS GUARD. IT IS NOT A SYSTEM OF DEMOCRACY, BUT ONE OF BRUTALITY AND TYRANNY.
In a very real way, this system works more as a system of intimidation than it does of actual warfare. When everything is working properly, this system operates as a strategic BACKUP to the indigenous militaries of America's "client-states." It's these forces that do most of the fighting and dying in support of the American New World Order System.
The first line of defense in America's system are the militarized local police forces of America's client-states. These forces do not necessarily exist to serve the public over which they have been given charge, as they do to keep that public "in line."
Backing up these local police forces is the national police apparatus of the client-state under the control of the country's Interior Ministry and the Interior Ministry's paramilitary forces [DEATH SQUADS].
Behind the national police forces of the Interior Ministry stands the national army backed up occasionally by American "Special Forces" (Delta Force, the Seals, etc.).
Finally, the American military itself stands at the ready behind all these forces to intervene whenever necessary to quash the occasional uprising that may get too far "out of hand." These forces are located "at the ready" in America's BASE SYSTEM, and offshore on America's carrier battle groups.
Finally, there is the matter of America's overwhelming nuclear superiority - AND MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, AMERICA STANDS ABSOLUTELY SUPREME IN THIS AREA.
AMERICA'S NUCLEAR TRIAD - LAND, SEA AND AIR LAUNCHED NUCLEAR WEAPONS US nuclear power is supreme throughout the world
Indeed, the extent to which America dominates the world from a nuclear standpoint was made plain recently in an article that appeared in the March / April 2006 edition of Foreign Affairs (a CFR publication) entitled "The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy" by Keir Lieber of the University of Notre Dame and Daryl Press of the University of Pennsylvania. Lieber and Press write that it is now possible for the United States to -
"… destroy the long-range nuclear arsenals of [both] Russia and China with a first strike."
Moreover they indicate that the U.S. can now do it without fear that they would suffer a retaliatory strike. They continue:
"For 50 years the Pentagon's war planners have structured the U.S. nuclear arsenal according to the goal of deterring a nuclear attack on the United States and, if necessary … launching a retaliatory strike that would destroy an enemy. For these purposes, the United States relies on a nuclear triad comprising strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and ballistic-missile-launching submarines (known as SSBNs). The triad reduces the odds that an enemy could destroy all U.S. nuclear forces in a single strike, even in a surprise attack, ensuring that the United States would be able to launch a devastating response. Such retaliation would only have to be able to destroy a large enough portion of the attacker's cities and industry to deter an attack in the first place.
"HOWEVER, THE SAME [U.S.] NUCLEAR TRIAD COULD BE USED IN AN OFFENSIVE ATTACK AGAINST AN ADVERSARY'S NUCLEAR FORCES. Stealth bombers might slip past enemy radar, submarines could fire their missiles from near the enemy's shore and so give the enemy's leaders almost no time to respond, and highly accurate land-based missiles could destroy even hardened silos that have been reinforced against attack and other targets that require a direct hit. THE ABILITY TO DESTROY ALL OF AN ADVERSARY'S NUCLEAR FORCES, ELIMINATING THE POSSIBILITY OF A RETALIATORY STRIKE, IS KNOWN AS A FIRST-STRIKE CAPABILITY, OR NUCLEAR PRIMACY."
Multiple atomic warheads on top of US missiles
Lieber and Press report that since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the old Soviet Union, the U.S. nuclear arsenal has greatly improved. The United States has replaced the ballistic missiles on its submarines with the substantially more accurate Trident II D-5 missiles, many of which carry new, larger yield warheads.
on top of US missiles
The U.S. navy has shifted a greater proportion of its SSBNs to the Pacific so that they can patrol near the Chinese coast or in the blind spot of Russia's antiquated early warning radar network.
The U.S. air force has finished equipping its B-52 bombers with nuclear-armed cruise missiles which are invisible to Russian and Chinese air-defense radar. And the airforce has also enhanced the avionics on its B-2 stealth bombers to permit them to fly at extremely low altitudes in order to avoid even the most sophisticated radar.
Finally, although the airforce finished dismantling its highly lethal MX missiles in compliance with arms control agreements, it is significantly improving its remaining ICBMs by installing the MX's high-yield warheads and advanced reentry vehicles on Minutemen ICBMs and it has upgraded the Minuteman's guidance system to match the MX's accuracy.
Lieber and Press go on to say:
"Even as the United States' nuclear forces have grown stronger since the end of the Cold War, Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal has sharply deteriorated. Russia has 39 percent fewer long-range bombers [which were never that good in the first place], and 80 percent fewer SSBNs than the old Soviet Union fielded during its last days. The true extent of the Russian arsenal's decay, however, is much greater than even these cuts suggest. What nuclear forces Russia retains are hardly ready for use. Russia's strategic bombers, now located at only two bases and thus vulnerable to a surprise attack, rarely conduct training exercises, and their warheads are stored off-base. Over 80 percent of Russia's silo-based ICBMs have exceeded their original service lives, and plans to replace them with new missiles have been stymied by failed tests and low rates of production. Russia's mobile ICBMs rarely patrol, and although they could fire their missiles from inside their bases if given sufficient warning of an attack, it appears unlikely that they would have the time to do so.
"The third leg of Russia's nuclear triad has weakened the most. Since 2000, Russia's SSBNs have conducted approximately two patrols per year, down from 60 in 1990 … Most of the time, all nine of Russia's ballistic missile submarines are sitting in port, where they make easy targets. Moreover, submarines require well-trained crews to be effective. Operating a ballistic missile submarine - and silently coordinating its operations with surface ships and attack submarines to evade an enemy's forces - is not simple. Without frequent patrols, the skills of Russian submariners, like the submarines themselves, are decaying."
Abandoned Russian military base near China border that the Russians can no longer afford to man; rusting submarines of Russia's once vaunted submarine fleet.
Finally, Lieber and Press go on to say that Russia's early warning system is hopelessly antiquated.
And that's not the end of the deterioration of Russia's nuclear capability. Moscow has announced plans to reduce its ICBM force by an additional 35 percent - and outside experts expect the real cuts to approximate 75 percent of the remaining ICBM force.
To determine how much the nuclear balance between Russia and the United States has shifted since the end of the Cold War, Lieber and Press ran a computer model of a hypothetical U.S. attack on Russia's nuclear arsenal using the standard formulas that defense analysts have used for decades. They assigned U.S. nuclear warheads to Russian targets on the basis of two criteria: the most accurate weapons were aimed at the hardest targets, and the fastest-arriving weapons at the Russian forces that could react most quickly. Because Russia is essentially blind to submarine attack from the Pacific and would have great difficulty detecting the approach of low-flying stealth nuclear-armed cruise missiles, they targeted each Russian weapon system with at least one submarine-based warhead or cruise missile. An attack organized in this manner would give Russian leaders virtually no warning.
According to the simulation, EVERY SINGLE RUSSIAN BOMBER BASE, SUBMARINE AND ICBM WOULD BE DESTROYED WITH NO CHANCE OF A RUSSIAN COUNTER-STRIKE. Lieber and Press continue:
"This finding is not based on best-case assumptions or an unrealistic scenario in which U.S. missiles perform perfectly and the warheads hit their targets without fail. Rather, we used standard assumptions to estimate the likely inaccuracy and unreliability of U.S. weapons systems. MOREOVER, OUR MODEL INDICATES THAT ALL OF RUSSIA'S STRATEGIC NUCLEAR ARSENAL WOULD STILL BE DESTROYED EVEN IF U.S. WEAPONS WERE 20 PERCENT LESS ACCURATE THAN WE ASSUMED, OR IF U.S. WEAPONS WERE ONLY 70 PERCENT RELIABLE, OR IF RUSSIAN ICBM SILOS WERE 50 PERCENT 'HARDER' (MORE REINFORCED, AND HENCE MORE RESISTANT TO ATTACK) THAN WE EXPECTED."
And what's more astonishing, Lieber and Press suggest that the unclassified estimates they used most likely grossly understated the capabilities of U.S. forces, making a U.S. nuclear attack against Russia even more likely to succeed.
Concerning China, Lieber and Press write:
"China's nuclear arsenal is even more vulnerable to a U.S. attack. A U.S. first-strike could succeed whether it was launched as a surprise first strike or in the midst of a crisis during a Chinese alert. China has a limited strategic nuclear arsenal. The People's Liberation Army currently possesses no modern SSBNs or long-range bombers. Its naval arm used to have two ballistic missile submarines, but one sank, and the other, which had such poor capabilities that it never left Chinese waters, is no longer operational. China's medium-range bomber force is similarly unimpressive: the bombers are obsolete and vulnerable to attack. According to … U.S. government assessments, China's entire intercontinental nuclear arsenal consists of 18 stationary single-warhead ICBMs. These are not ready to launch on warning: their warheads are kept in storage and the missiles themselves are unfueled. (China's ICBMs use liquid fuel, which corrodes the missiles after 24 hours. Fueling them is estimated to take two hours.) The lack of an advanced early warning system adds to the vulnerability of the ICBMs. It appears that China would have no warning at all of a U.S. submarine-launched missile attack or a strike using hundreds of stealth nuclear-armed cruise missiles."
Lieber and Press say that despite much talk about China's military modernization, the odds that Beijing will acquire a survivable nuclear deterrent in the next several decades are slim. U.S. intelligence reports that China has been working hard on producing a new rocket - the DF-31. But even when they are finally fielded, the DF-31s are unlikely to significantly reduce China's vulnerability vis a vis the United States. The missile's limited range (4,970 miles), greatly restricts the area in which they can be hidden, reducing the difficulty of searching for them. The DF-31s could hit the contiguous United States only if they were deployed in China's far northeastern corner, principally in Heilongjiang Province, near the Russian - North Korean border. But Heilongjiang is mountainous, and so the missiles could be deployed only along a few hundred kilometers of good road or in a small plain in the center of the province. Such restrictions increase the missiles' vulnerability and raise questions about whether they are even intended to target the U.S. homeland or whether they will be aimed at targets in Russia and Asia.
The DF-31s could hit the contiguous United States only if they were deployed in China's far northeastern corner, principally in Heilongjiang Province, near the Russian - North Korean border. But Heilongjiang is mountainous, and so the missiles could be deployed only along a few hundred kilometers of good road or in a small plain in the center of the province. Such restrictions increase the missiles' vulnerability and raise questions about whether they are even intended to target the U.S. homeland or whether they will be aimed at targets in Russia and Asia.
Lieber and Press write:
"Given the history of China's slow-motion nuclear modernization, it is doubtful that a Chinese second-strike force will materialize anytime soon. The United States has a first-strike capability against China today and should be able to maintain it for decades to come."
The question to be asked, according to Lieber and Press, is this: Is the United States INTENTIONALLY pursuing nuclear primacy - or has it just happened? Lieber and Press answer their own question:
"The evidence suggests that Washington is, in fact, deliberately seeking nuclear primacy … THE CURRENT … U.S. NUCLEAR FORCE … SEEMS [SPECIFICALLY] DESIGNED TO CARRY OUT A PREEMPTIVE DISARMING STRIKE AGAINST RUSSSIA AND CHINA."
Lieber and Press continue:
"The intentional pursuit of nuclear primacy is, moreover, entirely consistent with the United States' declared policy of expanding its global dominance. Washington's 2002 National Security Strategy explicitly states that the United States aims to establish military primacy: 'Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States'. To this end, the United States is openly seeking primacy in every dimension of modern military technology, both in its conventional arsenal and in its nuclear forces.
"Washington's pursuit of nuclear primacy helps explain its missile-defense strategy, for example. Critics of missile defense argue that a national missile shield [such as the one presently being deployed along the West Coast and in Alaska] would be easily overwhelmed by a cloud of warheads and decoys launched by Russia or China. They are right: even a multilayered system with land-, air-, sea-, and space-based elements is highly unlikely to protect the United States from a major nuclear attack. But they are wrong to conclude that such a missile-defense system is therefore worthless - as are the supporters of missile defense who argue that, for similar reasons, such a system could be of concern only to rogue states and terrorists and not to other major nuclear powers.
"What both of these camps overlook is that the sort of missile defenses that the United States is deploying WOULD BE VALUABLE PRIMARILY IN AN OFFENSIVE CONTEXT, NOT A DEFENSIVE ONE - as an adjunct to a U.S. first-strike capability, not as a standalone shield. If the United States launched a nuclear attack against Russia [or China, or even India, Pakistan, and the European Community (if it came to that)] the targeted country would be left only with a tiny surviving arsenal - if any at all. At that point, even a relatively modest … missile-defense system might well be enough to protect against any retaliatory strikes, because the devastated enemy would have so few warheads and decoys left." [Please see our article, "Reducing Europe to the Status of Greece in the Days of Rome."]
Lieber and Press conclude ominously that in the light of all this -
"Washington's continued refusal to eschew a first-strike and the country's [continued] development of a … missile-defense capability take on a new, and possibly more menacing look."
It is in the light of this reality, that the Apostle John cries out in the Apocalypse:
"Who is like unto this BEAST? who is able to make war with it?" (Rev. 13:4).
Think about the implications of all this: The United States, if it so chose, possesses the power today to conduct a first-strike against the nuclear arsenals of all its enemies [not only Russia and China, but the European Community (France and Great Britain), and all the other remaining nuclear powers of the world] without fear of suffering a retaliatory strike.
That's the truth of the matter - AND ONE MUST REMEMBER HERE, IN THIS WORLD, AS MAO TSE TUNG SUGGESTED, "POWER FLOWS OUT OF THE BARREL OF A GUN" - and anyone who thinks otherwise is a FOOL.
Moreover, if the United States so chose, it could limit its first-strike attack ONLY to the targeted countries' nuclear arsenals, sparing the cities, but reducing the populations of these countries to impotence in a single instant, and reducing their populations to SLAVE status in the service of America's New World Order System - the clear implication being that if the populations of these countries refuse to submit to their new status, their cities would be incinerated.
IN THIS CONTEXT, ONE SHOULD BEAR IN MIND THAT EVEN AFTER DESTROYING THE NUCLEAR ARSENALS OF ALL ITS COMPETITORS, THE UNITED STATES WOULD STILL POSSESS INNUMERABLE ADDITIONAL NUCLEAR-TIPPED MISSILES WHICH COULD BE UTILIZED TO CARRY OUT SUCH A SLAUGHTER.
So now we begin at last to understand the apostle's lament concerning this "BEAST-NATION:" "Who is like unto this BEAST? who is able to make war with it?" (Rev. 13:4), and we begin to appreciate the prophet Daniel's description of this "BEAST-NATION" as "DREADFUL" and "TERRIBLE," and "STRONG EXCEEDINGLY" with "great iron teeth;" one that will "DEVOUR" and "BRAKE IN PIECES" the rest of the nations of the earth. (Daniel 7:7)
"You've shown how the United States has run rings around … every other empire-building nation in history. We've pulled off the greatest rip-off ever achieved."
Famed Economist Hermann Kahn to Michael
Hudson, author of Super Imperialism, The Origin
and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance
That the US is about to be displaced as the world's preeminent economic power, which - as the following graph clearly shows is just that - a myth:
32% of U.S. economy
22% of U.S. economy
20% of U.S. economy
17% of U.S. economy
16% of U.S. economy
14% of U.S. economy
9% of U.S. economy
9% of U.S. economy
8% of U.S. economy
7% of U.S. economy
That the U.S. is about to go bankrupt - a myth being purveyed by FOX NEWS and the neo-conservatives; and that, as a result, the U.S. budget deficit must be drastically reduced so that global bond investors (meaning China, Japan, and the EU) do not threaten the economy by "calling in" the loans they have made to the US government.
Reference recent reports that China has surpassed the US economically.
China's actual GDP is in reality only one-half to one-third the size of the US economy. This means that China is in fact only the fourth largest economic power after #1, the United States; #2, Japan; and #3, Germany.
Chinese economy has been highly questioned. A business research group recently reported the huge discrepancy between the Communist regime's data and the reality according to actual volatility and real growth.
Harry Wu, Professor of Economics, revealed in his recent report at Conference Board that China's economy could be 36% smaller than what Beijing claims.
Professor Wu wrote:
"Examining changes over time, our new results show greater volatility and slower growth than the official estimates."
Last year, Professor Frank Xie also stated in his book entitled, The Dragon's Vault that the Chinese Communist Party essentially single-handedly manipulates the numbers and prosperity in China.
Professor Xie, School of Business, University of South Carolina Aiken writes:
"The Chinese economist Harry Wu believes that China's economy is one third less than the official data. This data is very interesting. In fact, we can see more economists, both at home and abroad, dare to stand up and tell the truth. The consensus of all these independent economists is that China's economy is problematic, deviated and even artificially fraudulent."
Reportedly, Harry Wu estimates that China from 1978 to 2012 grew an average of 7.2 percent a year. Beijing's National Bureau of Statistics reports 9.8 percent average annual growth during that period. There is a huge gap of 2.6 percent. Wu believes that official numbers for 1952 to 1977 are generally accurate.
Frank Xie writes:
"Starting from 1978, CCP (Chinese Communist Party) took GDP as a measure of local government's performance. Founded on lies and violence, the regime also reflects its lies and deceiving acts onto the economic data. False reports are expected. It is somewhat consistent with what Harry Wu has speculated."
Wu argues the huge gap was due to China overstating productivity growth and underestimating inflation, which tends to make inflation-adjusted GDP numbers higher than they otherwise would be, and the government also "covers up" economic slumps ...
New York Times reported that, by the exchange rate measure, China has an economy barely half the size of the United States. The G.D.P. of the United States — in nominal terms, meaning not adjusted for inflation — was $16.2 trillion in 2012, nearly twice as much as China's $8.2 trillion, based on data from the I.M.F.
Most people today are completely unaware of the real foundations of America's ECONOMIC supremacy - a supremacy that mercilessly wrings out of the nations of the so-called "First World" (e.g., Japan, the E.U., Korea, Australia, Canada, etc., as well as "Second World" nations such as Russia, India and China) billions and billions of dollars each year in TRIBUTE money.
This money is then used to finance America's wars of conquest - wars that open up the economies of the so-called "Third World" to be cruelly and heartlessly raped and pillaged insofar as their "natural" and "human" resources are concerned. It is PRECISELY this pitiless savagery that gives rise to the Bible's description of America as a "BEAST NATION;" a nation that is "... DREADFUL" and "TERRIBLE," and "STRONG EXCEEDINGLY" with "great iron teeth;" one that "DEVOURS" and "BRAKES IN PIECES" (Daniel 7:7), and one that is an "OVERFLOWING SCOURGE." (Is. 28:18)
Moreover, it is exactly this TRIBUTE money - money that is recycled through American banks and then extended as additional credit to American consumers - that allows Americans to continue to live in relative opulence while piling up ever more personal debt - and doing so while much of the rest of the world starves.
The extent of most people's ignorance with regard to this matter is reflected in the perpetual "hue and cry" of naïfs and ninnies regarding the nation's huge trade and budgetary deficits - the very deficits that create the TRIBUTE money that America has come to rely on both corporately (as a nation) and individually - and contributes to the false and even idiotic belief in most Christians that the U.S. will eventually bankrupt itself and sink into "second-class" status.
BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, WHILE MOST OF THE "PLEBES" AND "COMMON FOLK" IN AMERICA AND ABROAD ARE IGNORANT OF HOW AMERICA'S TRADE DEFICITS ARE "MAGICALLY" TRANSFORMED INTO TRIBUTE MONEY THAT FINANCES AMERICA'S WARS OF CONQUEST AND FEEDS THE INSATIABLE APPETITE OF AMERICAN CONSUMERS FOR MORE AND MORE "THINGS," THE ELITES THAT GOVERN THIS SYSTEM ARE NOT.
The crucial but furtive and underhanded role that these massive deficits play insofar as the American New World Order System is concerned is reflected in the "benign neglect" of them by the "wise men" who govern the affairs of the nation as these deficits have mounted up to the heavens in the almost thirty-five years since America abandoned the gold standard.
The fact that the Republican elites are now raising a "hue and cry" about these deficits – especially the nation's budgetary deficit – does not in any way detract from what's been stated above; this "hue and cry" is nothing more than a ruse to strip government spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. and plough the savings into the defense budget and into he coffers of the rich. [Please see our article, "Preparing the Ground in America for the Emergence of the Antichrist – Part 1."]
As Michael Hudson reports in his masterpiece, Super Imperialism: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance:
"The [U.S. trade] deficit that caused a global crisis in 1971 when its $10 billion rate led to a 10 percent dollar devaluation has now risen to hundreds of billions of dollars annually, and is still rising … Still the government says that it is not worried and that the situation does not call for any action …"
This kind of thinking drives many people crazy as they try to understand the rationale behind America's "benign neglect" with regard to these deficits. But be assured, there is a rationale behind it all. Hudson explains the REALPOLITIK governing America's policy of "benign neglect:"
"Gold was the monetary medium that CHECKED America's ability to run balance-of-payments deficits without limit. As the dollar ceased 'being as good as gold' leading up to 1971, the U.S. Treasury put pressure on central banks to demonetize the metal and finally drove it out of the world monetary system … Removing gold convertibility of the dollar - OR FOR THAT MATTER ITS CONVERTIBILITY INTO THE PURCHASE OF U.S. COMPANIES OR OTHER HARD ASSETS – and enabling the United States to pursue its lethal economic and military policies with regard to the rest of the world."
The United States does not dare to publicly announce that this is its policy vis-à-vis the rest of the world, but it's policy of "benign neglect" regarding its trade policy surely gives the game away because it can hardly be imagined that if these mounting trade deficits really hurt the U.S. (or at least the interests of the U.S. elites), they would be allowed to continue. The U.S. would simply return to its historic isolationism, throw up trade barriers, and go it alone, which it is perfectly capable of doing. The fact is, of all the economies of the world, it's the U.S. economy that would suffer the least under a regime of protectionism.
The United States, however, has not pursued a policy of protectionism, and the reason is this: The U.S. has the rest of the world by its testicles (to put it in the vernacular). And how is that? - when the U.S. abandoned the gold standard, IT REPLACED GOLD AS THE WORLD'S MEDIUM OF EXCHANGE WITH ITS OWN CURRENCY, THE DOLLAR; AND IT FORCED THE OTHER NATIONS OF THE WORLD TO DO SO AS WELL - i.e., TO USE DOLLARS RATHER THAN GOLD AS THE "BACKUP" OR SUPPORT FOR THEIR OWN CURRENCIES. Furthermore, it forced the other nations of the world to carry on all their international transactions with dollars. This confronts America's client-states in the First World - the E.U., Japan, Korea, Australia, etc. - with a dilemma; Hudson explains:
"If they let the U.S. payments deficit drag the dollar down, this will give U.S. exporters a price advantage [i.e., they can flood their markets with undervalued American products, causing unemployment and a host of other economic ills]. To protect their own producers [and workers], central banks must support the dollar's exchange rate by recycling their surplus dollars back to the United States. This option obliges them to buy U.S. government securities, as U.S. diplomats have made it clear that to buy control of U.S. companies [as well as to repurchase control of many of their own "national companies which they lost to American shareholders after the Second World War] or even to return to gold would be viewed as an UNFRIENDLY act."
This TRIBUTE system is analogous to a MAFIA PROTECTION RACKET where shop keepers and other business people are forced to pay "protection" to the local Mafia Don in order to do business - and God help those who don't pay!
The local Mafia Don would consider that an "UNFRIENDLY ACT" - and, again, who would want to get on the wrong side of a Mafia Don.
And what's true with the Mafia is true with regard to the United States! No one wants to get on the wrong side of the United States insofar as its PROTECTION RACKET is concerned. After all, America is the CAPO DI TUTI (the "Don of all Dons") - and one has only to view the wreckage of the old Soviet Union, Cuba, Iraq, North Korea, etc. to see what happens to countries that the U.S. views as "unfriendly." The fact that China has not suffered the same fate as the old Soviet Union is because China has now become a compliant member of America's New World Order System - all the rhetoric of political nincompoops to the contrary notwithstanding.
The fact is, the huge trade deficits that characterize U.S. trade with China are recycled back to America as TRIBUTE just as money from similar U.S. trade deficits are recycled back to the U.S. from Europe and Japan.
As famed economist Herbert Kahn says of this PROTECTION RACKET, it's "the greatest rip-off the world has ever seen" - and while many in the outside world might realize what's happening, what does one do when confronted by a thief who has a gun pointed at your head? One hands over the cash and keeps his mouth shut!
People know intuitively that in this world, as Mao Tse-tung once remarked, "POWER FLOWS OUT OF THE BARREL OF A GUN," and America has the "biggest and badest" guns in the world. IT'S THIS FACT THAT MAKES AMERICA'S PROTECTION RACKET WORK.
So much then for the possibility that the nations of the earth can break free of America's grip. Hudson writes:
"Foreigners have no say over these policies [i.e., the economic policies that undergird the American New World Order System]. Americans fought a revolution over the principle, 'no taxation without representation' two centuries ago, but Europe, Asia and Third World countries seem politically far from taking a similar step today. Their dollar claims [against the U.S. treasury as a result of America's trade deficit] do not give them the voting rights in U.S. policy formation, yet U.S. government, IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank officials use their dollar claims on debtor economies in Latin America, Africa and Asia to follow the Washington Consensus."
In simple terms, the system works in this way: The U.S. buys more products than it sells to foreign countries. Like gold used to do, these dollars accumulate in central banks around the world and are used by them to carry on their international trade - to buy oil from OPEC (OPEC trades its oil only in dollars), to buy commodities such as fruit and sugar from Latin America, natural gas from Russia (Russia sells its natural gas only in dollars), copper from Chile, tin from Bolivia, electronic equipment from China, cars from Japan, etc. - again, all of which are traded in dollars.
But even after foreign countries have used their dollar surpluses to buy what they want from other countries, they still have a surplus of dollars. Hudson writes:
"In fact, the larger the U.S. balance of payments (i.e., its trade deficit) grows, the more dollars mount up in the hands of … [central banks] to be recycled to finance the U.S. budget deficit.
What can they do with their surplus dollars since the U.S. will not allow the holders of these dollars to buy up U.S. assets? The only thing that they can do with them is buy U.S. Treasury bonds. Hudson explains:
"These dollar holdings - in the form of Treasury bonds - have become a seignorage tax levied by America on the world's central banks." [A seignorage tax redistributes money from the lender to the borrower; it's an upside-down situation where the borrower rather than the lender ultimately benefits.]
This so-called seignorage tax the U.S. levies on the rest of the world is used by the U.S. to cover its huge budgetary deficits - BUDGETARY DEFICITS THAT ALLOW THE U.S. TO BUILD AND MAINTAIN ITS HUGE MILITARY MACHINE AND CARRY ON ITS INCESSANT WARS OF CONQUEST WITHOUT HAVING TO RAISE TAXES ON AMERICAN CONSUMERS.
It's the people in America's system of client-states that finance America's military machine and pay for America's wars of conquest.
That's precisely what the Ancients used to call "TRIBUTE." BUT IT'S A SUPER-SOPHISTICATED SYSTEM OF TRIBUTE THAT - WHILE WELL-KNOWN TO THE ELITES IN THE U.S. AND AMONG AMERICA'S "TOADY ELITES" ABROAD - REMAINS HIDDEN FROM THE MASSES OF THE PEOPLE BOTH IN THE UNITED STATES AND IN ITS CLIENT-STATES.
Getting back to our analogy of a Mafia PROTECTION RACKET - no one, not the Mafia nor the small shop keeper that is paying the Mafia for "protection" wants to admit OPENLY what's occurring. So the Mafia carries the money it extracts from the shop keeper on its books as a "loan" from the shop keeper to itself; and the shop keeper carries the money paid as "protection" to the Mafia as a loan it has made to the Mafia.
Of course, both know that the so-called "loan" is never going to be repaid - BUT IT BALANCES THE BOOKS INSOFAR AS BOTH PARTIES ARE CONCERNED. This is important because when it comes time for the shop keeper to explain to his family why they don't have quite as much money to spend as they thought they had (based on the shop's gross sale's receipts), the shop keeper tells his family that he has "invested" the money. Contra wise, it allows the family of the Mafia Don (who want to plead ignorance as to why they have so much more money to spend than they should have) to think that the money is a "loan" from some obscure "great uncle" who doesn't really want the money back.
Of course, the presence of so many armed "retainers" coming and going at the estate they live at in the Hamptons, the stories one hears wafting through closed doors about "hits," about "numbers being "run," the presence of so many "beautiful people" at the pool outside on the carefully manicured lawns, etc., leads one to wonder a little about what daddy is really up to and where all the money comes from. But a trip to the shopping mall quickly sweeps such "impure" thoughts away. And, then, each Sunday when the family attends Mass and the priest makes so much to do about Daddy, any thought that dear old dad could be up to "no good" is quickly banished from the mind.
And isn't this the case with the American consumer; isn't this the way that Americans react to the manner in which America is squeezing TRIBUTE money out of the rest of the world. Indeed, it's this more than anything else that reveals the impure and avaricious nature of America's citizenry (Christians and secularists alike), and exposes their deep participation in this immoral system. After all, how many Americans would stop buying their clothes at Wal-Mart, Macys, Target, etc. if they knew that these clothes were made in Third World sweat shops; OR how many Americans would stop buying their electronic gadgets at Fry's, Sears, Best Buy, etc. if they knew they were being made by political prisoners in China; OR how many American women would stop buying diamonds if they knew how much blood and misery are associated with them? Not many I imagine.
Plainly, then, it's not just the American elites that are participants in this system of organized pillage, but the American people as well - and all their long prayers for the poor in Africa, Asia and Latin America will not wash away their guilt.