Weekly Update from Mark Armstrong – 21 March 2014

Greetings from Tyler,

Two weeks on, the Malaysian airliner is still missing, and General McInerney is standing by his suspicion that the plane was hijacked and may be on the ground in India, Iran or Pakistan.  He allows that he might turn out to be wrong about the outcome, but believes that the incident has something to do with Islamic terrorism.  Of all the technical experts, pilots and commentators that have weighed in with endless speculation, the retired Air Force General may be the best qualified.  Israel is taking his concerns seriously, and remains on full alert to identify all inbound air carriers.

The referendum held in Crimea this week, dubbed a sham by no less than Britain’s Economist, makes Putin’s invasion official.  Not because the actions in Crimea follow the dictates of international law, but because there is no military option available.  The general consensus is that Crimea is gone and Russia controls it, end of story.  The Economist suggests that Ukraine should receive a massive influx of help from the West (calling the idea a “mini-Marshall Plan”) and suggesting that the Crimean population will eventually rise up and demand the freedom and prosperity they will see taking hold in western Ukraine.  It’s doubtful many of us will live long enough to see all that transpire.

Will Russia’s move into Crimea fuel Germany’s push for the capability of military intervention outside its own borders?  Germany now has a female Minister of Defense (Ursula Von der Leyen) who believes that Germany’s days of sitting out international conflicts should end, and believes that Europe should work toward a European army.  But for the time being, talk of a German response to Putin’s annexation of Crimea is limited to “economic penalties” that may prove too painful to the German economy.

The most important aspect of this situation in the broad overview may be the obvious lack of respect Russia and Putin have for the American president and his Secretary of State.  Putin literally laughed off the “limited sanctions” that were levied against Russian officials.  He’s also hinted that he might disrupt U.S. diplomatic efforts toward Iran where Putin is now a player.  Wouldn’t that be a tragedy?  Iran continues its aggressive behaviour, and its threats to destroy Israel even as current U.S. leadership insists that a diplomatic solution is viable.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon is openly critical of U.S. attempts to deal with Iran through diplomacy saying, “Weakness does not pay in this world.”  Amid reports that Israel has budgeted for the possibility of strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities this year, Yaalon says he hopes the U.S. will “come to its senses,” but right now Israel must accept the reality that it is on its own where Iran is concerned.

And then there is Hollywood’s latest attempt to skew the story of Noah and the Flood.  It misquotes the first verse of Genesis saying, “In the beginning, there was nothing.”  It misrepresents God, without ever referring to Him as God, and portrays Him as fallible.  Despite its “heavy-handed ecological doomsday” narrative, it is never-the-less an “arresting piece of film making” that seamlessly blends actual cinematography with computer generated effects.  Big deal.  So was Star Wars.

Like so may of the “Bible” movies and documentaries on television, the upshot is to confuse the public and cast doubt on the legitimacy of God’s Word.  There is no reason to doubt that this movie has “epic” qualities that stir emotional reactions.  Given the “low information” estate of most of the intended audience it will undoubtedly create additional deceptions, as if there weren’t enough of those already.

Mark Armstrong