Return of the Cold War

by Hal Lindsey
On Monday, Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon reported some disturbing news.   “Russia is building large numbers of underground nuclear command bunkers in the latest sign Moscow is moving ahead with a major strategic forces modernization program.”
According to the Daily Mail, Putin is building dozens of these bunkers, each one capable of withstanding atomic blasts.  One of the headlines read, “Bunkers spark fears that Russia is preparing for a nuclear war.”
Russia is building nuclear command bunkers, has been increasing missile production, and is modernizing their entire nuclear program.  Worst of all, according to NATO’s new Supreme Allied Commander, U.S. Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, they now see the use of nuclear weapons as acceptable.  He said “Russian doctrine states that tactical nuclear weapons may be used in a conventional response scenario.  This is alarming and it underscores why our country’s nuclear forces and NATO’s continues to be a vital component of our deterrence.”
Mark Schneider of the National Institute for Public Policy, summed up the bad news.  “Russia is getting ready for a big war which they assume will go nuclear, with them launching the first attacks.”
Secretary of State Ash Carter said recently, “Despite the progress that we’ve made together since the end of the Cold War, Russia has in recent years appeared intent to erode the principled, international order that has served us, our friends and allies, the international community and Russia itself so well for so long.”
Carter put it diplomatically, but the meaning is clear.  Russian actions are eroding the post-Cold War peace.
Carter then became more blunt.  “Russia continues to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, and actively seeks to intimidate its Baltic neighbors.  At sea, in the air and space and cyberspace, Russian actors have engaged in challenging international norms.  And most disturbing, Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling raises troubling questions about Russia’s leader’s commitments to strategic stability, their respect for norms against the use of nuclear weapons, and whether they respect the profound caution that nuclear-age leaders showed with regard to the brandishing of nuclear weapons.”
This isn’t an unnamed source at the Defense Department.  Ash Carter is the Secretary of Defense, and he publicly questions “Russia’s leader’s… respect for norms against the use of nuclear weapons.”
Admiral John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations, told the New York Times, “We’re back to the great powers competition.”
Putin’s desire to build a new Russia in the image of the old Soviet Union is a disaster for the world — especially the Russian people.  Not long ago, the Duma passed what it called “anti-terrorism” legislation.  Everyone else called them “Big Brother Laws.”  This legislation increased surveillance and government intrusion.  American communications companies have been leaving Russia in the last few weeks because of these intrusive laws.
They also limit Christian expression.  They require all evangelistic efforts to take place only within the confines of a church.  And even there, Christians must first apply for a government permit.  The laws make it illegal to email a friend an invitation to church, or talk to someone about Christ, even in the privacy of their own homes.
For students of Bible prophecy, these events are not surprising, but they’re still very sad.  Putin’s war is not with Europe or the United States, it’s with God and the laws of God.  The Bible tells us that one day Russia and Iran will lead a federation of nations in a massive assault on Israel, and they will lose.  God Himself will fight against them.
On Tuesday we learned that Russian bombers flying sorties over Syria are launching from air bases in Iran. It’s the first time Iran has allowed a foreign power to conduct military operations from its soil since the revolution. Prophecy students have been fascinating by the increasingly cozy relationship between Russia and Iran that has developed in the last few months.
The future assault on Israel puts Russia in the role of end-times villain.  But we should be careful to remember that the Russian people are not all complicit.  In fact, they are Putin’s primary victims.  Because of the Big Brother laws, Russian Christians have asked their brothers and sisters around the world to remember them in prayer.  There’s no better time than right now.
Meanwhile, the United States must understand that the cold war is on again.  There are little indications of this — things like low altitude flybys and increased submarine patrols off the U.S. coast.  And there are big indicators — like Russia’s new buildup of missiles, their modernized nuclear infrastructure, and what Ash Carter calls “nuclear saber rattling.”
Putin is playing a high stakes game of Russian Roulette.  And, like it or not, we’re all playing, too.
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