The Basics of Geopolitics
from the August 22, 2016 eNews issue
One mission of the Koinonia Institute is to “put current events in a biblical perspective.” It has been the experience of this author that one has to look at the secular as well as the biblical to give a complete view of what is going on in the world. From time to time, we will write on geopolitics in general to give the reader an insight into the nature of geopolitics and both the religious and secular forces that help shape the world.
Geopolitics is the way in which geography and other structural constraints shape people and nations. The study of geopolitics tries to find those things that are eternal, those things that are of long duration and those things that are transitory. It does this through the prism of geography and power. More precisely, geopolitical investigation seeks not only to describe but also to predict what will happen. Those predictions often fly in the face of common sense. Today’s geopolitics is the next generation’s common sense. While we look at times into the future, this is not to say we deal in date setting for the end times. We believe the time of Christ’s return for His Church is not known to anyone. All attempts to fix dates is delusional, a snare, and is unscriptural. A Christian should avoid those who try to set dates for His return.
While the Bible does warn against setting the day and the hour, it also tells us we may know roughly the time and the season of His return. As the signs He has given multiply, we may, with confidence, say His coming is very near and we are living in the days when the Lord will soon return. The Apostle Paul, in writing on the return of the Lord, tells us plainly in First Thessalonians:
Now you do not need to have anything written to you about times and dates, brothers, for you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When people say, “There is peace and security,” destruction will strike them as suddenly as labor pains come to a pregnant woman, and they will not be able to escape. However, brothers, you are not in the darkness, in order that the Day of the Lord might surprise you like a thief. For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to darkness. Therefore, let’s not fall asleep like others do, but let’s stay awake and be sober.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:1–6 (ISV)
This is a passage which has been tragically overlooked by many Christians.
William Shakespeare, born in 1564 — the century in which the European conquest of the world took place — had Macbeth say history is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. If Macbeth is right, then history is devoid of meaning, devoid of order. Any attempt at forecasting the future must begin by challenging Macbeth, since if history is random then the future, by definition, is unpredictable.
Forecasting is built into the human condition. Each action a human being takes is intended to have a certain outcome, the right to assume that outcome derives from a certain amount of knowledge of how things work. Since this knowledge is generally imperfect, the action sometimes has unexpected and unintended consequences, but there is a huge gulf between the uncertainty of a prediction and the impossibility of a prediction. A life is made up of expectations and predictions. There is no action taken that is not done with the expectation, reasonable or not, of some predictable consequence.
The search for predictability permeates the human condition. Students choose careers by trying to predict what would please them when they are 30 years older, what would be useful and therefore make them money. Businesses forecast what can be sold and to whom. We forecast the weather, the winners of elections, and consequences of war. The fact that human beings make forecasts about every aspect of their existence means they must find every aspect of their existence predictable to some degree.
There are entire professions based on forecasting. The simplest sort of forecast is about nature since it lacks will and cannot make choices. (Saturn will not change its orbit randomly from week to week.) The hardest things to predict are things involving human beings. First, God gave Man free will. Second, the predictors themselves are humans. Their own wishes and prejudices inevitably color their view of how other humans will behave.
Nevertheless, entire sciences exist for forecasting human behavior. Consider economics, that “dreadful science” dedicated to predicting how an economy will perform. Military modeling and war gaming tries to predict how wars will be fought. Stock analysts try to predict the future of stock markets; labor analysts try to predict the future of labor markets. Forecasting permeates society.
All these social forecasting systems work the same way. Rather than trying to predict what any individual will do, they try to generate a statistical model consisting of many individuals, the goal of which is to predict general patterns of behavior. Economics and war share in common the fact that they try to predict the direction of many individual actors interacting with nature and technology.
We as Christians though have an advantage over others, for as those who are not in Christ do not know what the future holds for us. Our end, both here and in the hereafter, is certain.
– FROM: KHouse.Org