I was not expecting Russia to invade Ukraine like this, but I had not been listening to the stories that the Russians were telling each other. Nor did I hear what Kremlin advisors were telling Putin.
These stories are what send us to war. Every war that America has ever fought, started with a story, and too many of them had little connection with reality. Look closely at other wars, and you’ll see that they too started with a story.
Worse, we have taken up story telling in our churches, without checking whether they are true.
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The Stories That Send Us To War
For 15 years, I was an eye witness to stories that kill. I was an alien, sitting between two peoples that had stories that confirmed a belief that their way was right, and that those who disagreed were wrong. My allegiance was to one set of stories, but as an outsider looking in, I had a clearer idea of where the stories came from and why they were being told. And, everyone who suffered injury and death was a victim of a story.
I can’t tell you how many times I heard a story and wanted to ask how much was truth, and persuade them to reject the part that was lie. But, convincing people to give up cherished fantasies and imaginations rarely ever works. That hasn’t stopped me from trying, so call me Sisyphus if you want.
Here in Taiwan, I am yet again an alien listening to the stories that people tell themselves and seeing the suffering and death that will come, if the stories don’t change. Unfortunately, history shows that the stories don’t change unless they washed away by terrible circumstances.
Andy Andrews wrote a great book on this. It’s called:
How Do You Kill 11 Million People?: Why the Truth Matters More Than You Think.
How did Hitler kill so many people?
He lied to them.
He told them a story.
Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot killed even more millions, and they too did it with stories. The last generals of Imperial Japan, were living and telling their own story, when they attacked Pearl Harbor. Benito Mussolini had a story when he allied himself with Hitler and invaded North Africa and Greece.
Three percent of the world’s population died in World War II, all because of stories.
So, as we watch Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, listen to the stories. You can hear the Russian story here:
That’s RT – Russia Today. It’s complete propaganda. In fact, it’s pretty much the CNN of Russia. The only difference is that RT might be less divorced from reality than CNN. Maybe.
How much of what they say there is true?
What are they leaving out?
How selective are they being?
There are so many ways to lie with a video camera and a good microphone, and I’ve probably seen just about all of those ways, during my time in Jerusalem. And, as a writer, I understand how the words that you choose can change what the story means.
Remember also that everyone telling you a story has a religion. And, I define ‘religion’ as any thought or idea that is impenetrable by fact or logic. Every talking head on TV. Every writer on the Internet. They all have a religion, including me. And, every word that they write or say is grounded in their ‘faith’.
Vlad ‘The Bad’ Putin
So what were the stories being told to Vlad ‘The Bad’ Putin?
He was born in 1952, in Leningrad, in the aftermath and rubble of World War II. He grew up on the stories of the price Russia paid, and the centuries of invasion that Mother Russia suffered at the hands of… well …everyone. Oh, and he’s a lawyer.
No one ever talks about Putin going to law school and being a lawyer. His career in the KGB was in the back office, in the legal section. But, since that goes against the stories that people like to tell about Vlad The Bad, you won’t hear that very often.
So, the story of being vulnerable to invasion, is writ large in Putin’s mind, and in the minds of every one of his advisers. And when the US State Department threatened Putin with what he was expecting, the result should have been obvious.
In fact, if I had seen this tweet when it was posted in December, I might have been more accurate in predicting Russia’s invasion:
In the last few weeks, I have become increasingly convinced that Kremlin has unfortunately made a decision to invade Ukraine later this winter. While it is still possible for Putin to deescalate, I believe the likelihood is now quite low. Allow me to explain why 🧵
— Dmitri Alperovitch (@DAlperovitch) December 21, 2021
That’s the first in an almost 40 tweet post in Twitter, and the most important statement is this:
75% of Russia’s total battalion tactical groups have been moved.
That was December, and that just cannot be a training operation. That’s prelude for war. And no, I had not been paying attention to that.
So, what was the ultimate cause of this mobilization and then attack?
Well, not a ‘what’, but a ‘who’. And, she’s someone that I mentioned last week:
I heard her name mentioned in a video today – one that linked her to to the invasion of Iraq. I had not realized that she was connected to that disaster, too. So, I went looking and found this:
From 2000 to 2003, Nuland was US permanent representative to NATO as the Bush administration attacked then invaded Afghanistan. The Afghan government offered to work with the US to remove Al Qaeda, but this was rejected. After Al Qaeda was defeated, the US could have left Afghanistan but instead stayed, established semi-permanent bases, split the country, and is still fighting there two decades later.
From 2003 to 2005 Nuland was principal foreign policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney who “helped plan and manage the war that toppled Saddam Hussein, including making Bush administration’s case for preemptive military actions based on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.” The foreign policy establishment, with Nuland on the far right, believed that removing Saddam Hussein and installing a US “ally” would be simple.
– Rick Sterling, Why Victoria Nuland Is Dangerous and Should Not Be Confirmed
So, not only was she responsible for the takeover of Ukraine by the United States in 2014, but she was also one of the chief architects of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. You can also bet that she was involved in pushing the country of Georgia into the ill-fated Russo-Georgian War of 2008. And, when she was confirmed as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, in 2021, Putin would have been well aware of what that meant.
An attack on Russia.
And yes, Victoria Nuland is the kind of person who would not mind if millions of Ukrainians died to further her career. She’s that kind of person, and she loves ‘The Great Game’.
Perfect Timing And A Difference
At the same time, Putin would have understood that Russia was in a perfect position to push NATO back and create a buffer zone that would give Russian armed forces time to react should an invasion occur. And, Putin’s ‘terms of surrender’ to Ukraine reflect that intention.
Also, notice that this invasion did not include a tactic that Russia is well known for:
Massive aerial and artillery bombardment.
During the first and second Chechen wars, the city of Grozny was flattened. And, if this attack on Ukraine was a straight up conquest, you would have expected exactly this kind of strategy. But, they didn’t do that.
Unfortunately, we won’t know the truth of what is happening for a very long time. The stories that you and I are hearing are almost complete propaganda. So, be cynical with the news that you are getting. Even with what I’m telling you.
China’s Planned Invasion Of Taiwan
However, the story of the Ukraine invasion has added fuel to another story:
China’s invasion of Taiwan
All the armchair generals and self-proclaimed experts have been excitedly pronouncing doom for me and my neighbors. The glee with which they speak is horrifying. They seem unable to care that 23 million civilians here will suffer terribly or die from any invasion by China. We are packed so tightly on this island that it’s hard to believe how anyone could escape the fighting.
It’s one thing to hear these demonic pronouncements from China. But, to hear English speakers’ excitement over this prospect is nauseating. And, if Russia succeeds in her objectives in Ukraine, the chance of a Taiwan invasion will be much higher.
The West is showing it’s weakness, and the wolves have noticed. The only question is whether the Chinese and the other ‘bad actors’ are ready to capitalize on this opportunity. You can bet that I will be paying attention.
Ultimately, there’s very little that you and I can do, except ask for God’s help and to help others understand what’s coming. If these are the Last Days – and I truly believe that they are – then there’s no way that we anyone was going to stop the ride of the White and Red horses of Revelation Six. They may have begun their ride already, especially since I can hear the hoof beat of the Black Horse.
Suffering, violence and scarcity are coming for all of us. No one will be unaffected. And then, it will get worse. And, the stories that Christians are telling each other keep us from understanding what’s coming.
We have built seminaries and hired pastors from them, making sure that they tell us stories that we like to hear:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
– 2 Timothy 4:3 (NKJV)
That needs to stop, and I believe that proving When Gog Comes might help wake up sleepy Christians. Hopefully, that will become one of the most hated books on eschatology ever written. Hatred was not my goal when I wrote it, but I know that painful truth is never accepted until it is hated first. And, it’s also why I refuse to make any profit whatsoever from it. It will always be free, or sold at cost when necessary.
We’ll never stop believing stories. It’s a part of how we understand and remember, but we can work harder to make sure that the stories that we believe are true.
I truly hope that you’ll be ready for this
A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. – Proverbs 22:3
If you find a flaw in my reasoning, have a question, or wish to add your own viewpoint, leave a comment on the website. Your input is truly welcome.
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