First Things First

Ramon Arias | September 2, 2014

Last Wednesday (August 27), after a phone conversation between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, she announced to the world, “America can no longer solve all of the world’s problems.” How are we to interpret her statement?

Seventy-five years ago (August 23, 1939) their counterparts, Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler cut a deal: the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. Behind closed doors they promised not to war against each other as Germany took over Poland and divided it with the USSR. The Nazis attacked Poland September 1,1939, and the Second World War began a new facet. France and England declared war against Germany but not against the Soviets, interesting, don’t you think? Oh the dealings of evil minds! By June 22, 1941 Germany was invading the Soviet Union. You already know the outcome of that devastating war. 

What dealings are Putin and Merkel making behind closed doors this time? Rest assured the world will find out and nothing good can come out of it. However, what should put us to think is Merkel’s statement, “America can no longer solve all of the world’s problems.”

Whether Putin and Merkel see an increasingly weak America is not even something to worry about as much as asking, who made us responsible to solve the world’s problems? This should be an eye opener to cause us to make an introspective evaluation. If we are honest and look at the condition of the world just within the last one hundred years, starting with World War I (1914-1918), what problems has America solved?  

All the lives that paid the ultimate price, the devastation of nations and trillions of dollars spent to make a safer world have not worked. Does anyone care to know why?

Exactly what solutions have America’s interventions around the world produced?   Would you say the world is becoming a safer place or more dangerous by the day? Weapons of mass destruction are in control of diverse ideological worldviews and they are not friendly to each other.  Is this making the world safer? Any idea what the world would look like after World War III? Or, if you want a different scenario and would like to put it “milder,” what would Europe and America look like after jihadists get hold of nuclear weapons? And please do not be so naïve to say or think that will never happen!

This is neither a laughing matter nor a pessimistic view of the future, rather a time to discern what went wrong and to question if we have time to correct the course of this nation and her role in the world. Is it time for people of goodwill, integrity and responsibility to understand the past and with humility acknowledge our terrible mistakes and correct them? 

When the new experiment of a nation and civil government became the United States of America, alliances with other nations was not part of the deal. George Washington in his 1796 Farewell Address to the infant nation made it clear by stating: "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world." Washington was neither alone nor wrong in his statement, Thomas Jefferson in his First Inaugural Address, 1801 said: "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations–entangling alliances with none."

Washington, Jefferson and the Founding Fathers understood the complexities and problematic world they lived in. They could not trust Europe or any other monarchy in making permanent alliances knowing they would end up back in never-ending turmoil and wars. That was not what they envisioned and rightfully so, there was much to develop with the new experiment they already had on their hands. They should pursue commerce and honest friendship with other nations, but entanglements with none.

The foundation for the new nation was the biblical worldview brought by the Pilgrims in 1620 and followed by the Puritans in 1630 when they sailed for the New World. They brought with them a dream and a vision of a godly society as stated in 1630 by John Winthrop: “…we must consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, (and that) the eyes of all people are upon us…” That was meant to be the future of America, a reflection of a nation under God’s government according to The Scriptures.  

Yes, the hour is late for America, but if we are a wise and understanding people we can put first things first. With all my heart I believe we can turn this ship away from a course of destruction of crashing into the rocks and be lost at the bottom of the sea of forgetfulness; of what once was a great nation. We can show the world what the original American dream brought by the Forefathers is truly all about. Under the light and understanding they followed we can claim back what is important at home and accept with humility and repentance that instead we followed a man-made vision of greatness, little over two hundred years ago, which caused so much devastation at home and abroad. Commerce is not about destroying nations, it is about fair trade where everyone wins and strengthens the true friendship of nations.

I’m not a pacifist; I am in favor of building powerful armed forces for the defense of the homeland. But again, first things first, if we are to be a wise nation we must restore America to her original mission in the world. As a nation we are broken and have enemies within, but we can heal and defeat the godless forces at work. Let’s get on our feet and show the world the only way to solve a nation’s problems. We did it once; with God’s help we can do it again!

Moses’ advice to the newly formed nation of Israel applies to us today as it did in the forming of that nation. Deuteronomy 4:2-10:

“You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you. Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baal-peor, for the Lord your God destroyed from among you all the men who followed the Baal of Peor. But you who held fast to the Lord your God are all alive today. See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?  “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children.”

When America’s ways please Almighty God, He can make her enemies be at peace with her (Proverbs 16:7). It is His promise and we can be a lighthouse to a darkened world. We decide!