Few understand that the wars of the 21st century have been economic wars, media wars, ideological wars and ultimately proxy wars—virtual and invisible. By the time the war is won or lost, democracies respond and are, in essence, irrelevant.
Russian President Vladmir Putin has fought an economic war and he's won. The price of oil has skyrocketed thanks to Putin. He is making hundreds of billions of dollars of profit off of this Ukrainian crisis. Whatever sanctions are put on Putin will be minor compared to the profits he's making and will continue to make if he presses Ukraine harder.
Putin has also won an ideological war. He has become perceived as the most powerful leader on the planet at this present moment. He has control of virtually all the media and the governments of the world as they submit in an attempt to appease him.
This view feeds Russian pride and weakens democracies like Ukraine, putting them into a state of panic and vulnerability, especially as they see other superpowers refusing to stand by them militarily. Putin does not have to attack Ukraine to win; he's already winning.
He could easily withdraw his troops and utilize proxies or mercenaries to destabilize Ukraine and cause it to implode from within in the same way he's implementing with cyberattacks.
Putin has won the media war. He who defines the terms controls the debate.
Putin has defined all the terms on the chessboard. All the other players have surrendered to him as King Putin. Perception is reality; it's not necessarily truth.
Putin's war will be replicated by dozens of tyrants throughout the world. It's a test of the world's democracies and they have failed the test by refusing to maintain moral clarity.
All students of Bible prophecy know the story of Ezekiel 38. It describes what is modern-day Russia, having to do with Gog and Magog, and the story of the prophecies of Ezekiel and Daniel concerning the times when they use the phrase "king of the north" to describe the commander of the alliance in Daniel 11:5-35.
Ezekiel indicates the invading armies will arrive in Israel from the far north in Ezekiel 38:6 and 15. Russia is the only modern nation to match this description. Obviously, this event describes something that will happen in the future, not now. Rosh is modern-day Russia. These prophecies have to do with the Antichrist and the end of the age.
Putin has developed a strategy to become the most feared human being on the planet, controlling literally the media of the world at this present time.
Several years ago, I had dinner with the president of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev. During the dinner, he told me a story of a meeting he had with the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. He said that she told him that Putin had called her and said, "Do you know who I'm sitting next to?"
Chancellor Merkel said, "No, how could I possibly know? I'm here in Germany and you're in Moscow."
He said, "I'm with the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. He and I meet once per month. I am the protector of the Russian Orthodox Church of the world."
President Plevneliev said to me, "He really believes that he's the Savior of the Orthodox Church of the world. And, he's waging a holy war in Syria. He says it's to protect the Orthodox Christians against the tyranny of terrorism and he has the full support of the Orthodox church for his holy war."
Putin sees himself as the defender of the faith and is doing precisely the same thing in Ukraine, claiming that the protection of Christians in Ukraine is a key part of Russia's foreign policy. He said what is happening in the Donbas today is genocide, accusing Ukraine of exterminating the Russian Christian population in the East.
Acting as protector of Russians in Ukraine, Putin is championing what he termed the "Russian world." He considers it a sphere of influence rooted in ethnicity that faces continuing threats of genocide.
This new mission solves several problems for Putin. It presents Russia's interventions in neighboring states as defensive. Russian citizens are made to believe that they are sacrificing for a heroic struggle akin to World War II and that the great empire can come back.
While in the Oval Office, I once asked President Reagan, "What will you do about communism?"
He said, smiling, "I will bankrupt it." He did. he began an arms race and outspent Russia and also kept oil prices down, which was the key to Russia's economy.
Putin is doing the opposite. He is pushing oil prices to record highs and forcing the west to begin an arms race at a time when the U.S. economy is fragile, with $30 trillion of debt, and when the U.S. has lost oil independence.
There is no doubt that the Bible describes the Antichrist as having a platform influencing the entire world and utilizing religion. Putin is, in essence, a forerunner. Putin's preparing for a battle, not just in Ukraine but to resurrect Russian power and influence around the globe.
I had dinner with President Donald Trump in the White House. I leaned over and whispered in his ear, "Many say you're kind of weak on Putin. What are your real thoughts about him?"
He turned to me and spoke softly and said, "Putin is a trillionaire and you have to respect trillionaires."
I had never heard anyone describing Putin as a trillionaire. But Donald Trump was right. Putin controls Russia and the oligarchs. He is, in fact, a trillionaire.
Putin is on the verge of launching the biggest military offensive in Europe since 1945, but his ultimate goal is to revise the outcome of the original Cold War by creating a new one. Look at what's happening around the world.
President Biden, with all of his weak speeches against Putin, acts like a would-be king in the eyes of Putin. His threats are simply fearful cries with no willingness to back them up with real power.
The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris, said in a meeting, "What are you waiting for? We don't need your sanctions after the economy collapses and part of our country is occupied."
There's no doubt the trillionaire Putin will drain more than a trillion dollars off of the world economy with his Ukrainian crisis. As Russia's longest-serving leader since Joseph Stalin, Putin's strategy is to destabilize the west and it's working. He could keep this crisis going without attacking for a very long time and, in so doing, achieve his goal of controlling the global chessboard.
The post-Cold War is over. The Russian bear is awake and hungry.
Mike Evans is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author with 108 published books. He is the founder of the Friends of Zion Heritage Center in Jerusalem, the Ten Boom Holocaust Museum in Haarlem, Holland, and the Jerusalem Prayer Team, the largest religious Facebook page in the world.
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