One of the most frequent questions I get asked as I travel is, where is America in Bible prophecy? In the minds of many, it appears conspicuous in its absence of mention in the end-time scenario. There seems to be a clear depiction of Russia (Magog) and its allies, the Kings of the South (Egypt), the Kings of the East, and, of course, Israel, in the events leading up to Armageddon, etc. But the role of America, a superpower, seems noticeably absent. (This is not a burning issue among audiences in Europe, incidentally!)
Many conjectures spring from this ostensible omission. Some suspect that the United States may be allied with one of the more Biblically visible parties. As one explores each alternative speculation, it appears rather difficult to justify.
Others suspect that America may not be as dominant-for any of several reasons-by the time of the final climaxes. Some observers point to the possibility of a major economic decline, and others suggest a military or terrorist setback.
The Military Jeopardy
The apparent absence of the U.S. in Biblical prophecy might be due to a strategic military setback from either a nuclear exchange, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, or terrorist attacks. The U.S. might be collateral damage for involving itself in the Magog Invasion; it might be our missiles that fall on Magog and its allies, and we sustain retaliatory strikes in return.
Alternatively, Iran is currently practicing EMP procedures by launching Sahab-3 missiles from container ships in the Caspian Sea and detonating them at altitude. They appear committed to this path “for the good of Islam.” Just one nuclear bomb, at the right altitude, could return the United States to the nineteenth century-rather permanently. Perhaps an even more immediate threat comes from al-Qaeda. Some experts believe that a number of nukes are already in place. The potential upheavals are unimaginable and would seem to defy any effective preparations.
The Economic Plight
It is difficult-but essential-to gain a perspective on the financial predicament facing the United States. We need to understand the precariousness of the dollar, the impossible debt burden we collectively face, and the emergent storm clouds on our financial horizon. First, the mountain of debt we are facing.
President Bush and the 109th Congress together authorized and borrowed more money from foreign governments, banks, companies, and citizens than all the previous forty-two U.S. administrations combined. From 1776 to 2000, the first 224 years of U.S. history, forty-two U.S. presidents borrowed a combined $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions. In comparison, the Bush administration borrowed $1.05 trillion.
The federal debt continues to increase through the largesse and irresponsibility-and lack of accountability-of each administration that prostitutes its stewardship for political power. They disenfranchise the taxpayers by taxes and inflation. The government’s $7.9 trillion debt is rising by about $600 billion a year.
Without major budget cuts or tax increases, it could reach $11.2 trillion by 2010, and the interest alone would cost about $560 billion-the same as our current defense budget. Including future Social Security outlays, Medicare and Medicaid payments, the U.S. government is on the hook for an additional $44 trillion over the next twenty years.
This works as long as there are people who will continue to purchase the debt. Yet there is more. The trade deficits-the imbalances between our exports and imports-also continue to grow to alarming proportions; at an annualized rate of more than $800 billion per year. China solves its unemployment problems by selling us its subsidized goods and by lending us the money to buy them. We buy their goods by the carload; they buy our Treasury Bills by the carload.
The twin deficits of continued excessive federal spending and continued (and mushrooming) trade deficits are looming as very serious clouds on our economic horizon. We continue to enjoy our ostensible prosperity by borrowing from others.
If you combine America’s current annual $800 billion trade deficit with the government’s current account deficit of $300 billion, it becomes clear that we live on the rest of the world’s ability to lend us more than $1 trillion a year. The Treasury now depends on finding lenders that will supply us with about $3 billion per day. If they stop loaning us their money, our house of cards may have the gliding attitude of a brick.
The hope is that the mounting debts will be repaid by cheaper dollars (and other chicanery), preferably hidden from the rank and file taxpayer. The Federal Reserve (which is neither “federal” nor a “reserve”) is currently printing money as fast as it can to inject liquidity into our economic system. The M3 money supply topped $10 trillion for the first time in 2005, and has been growing in excess of a $2 trillion annual rate.
During Alan Greenspan’s tenure, the expanded use of debt-generated currency cut the value of the dollar in half. Ben Bernanke is regarded by critics as an advocate of expanding this inflationary strategy.
Next month we will be updating our classic briefing, The Vortex Strategy, which identifies the four points to observe in times of uncertainty. See also the trend, The American Challenge in our latest update of the Strategic Trends, now available as a double set in all formats.