2. Dual Nature of the Empire
3. Spiritual and Physical Geography
4. Economic Superpower: the New Beast
5. Who are the Two Superpowers of the End?
6. Physical Geography: Which Two Territories?
7. Earth-Beast: False Prophet and Money Master
8. Iron-Clay Kingdom = Sea-Earth Beasts’ Empire
9. The Kingdom shall be Divided
10. Role of Technology
11. What the Future Holds
5. Who Are the Two Superpowers of the End?
In Post 3 it was noted that the Beast from the “the sea” was represented by Russia, but a question mark still hangs over the identity of the other Beast from “the earth”.
But we could deduce this much: whichever nation or superpower it is, it would have to be strong enough and commercialized enough to be capable of administering the world economically. (As mentioned, this seems to be the major strong point about the earth-Beast’s domain.) Nowadays, that means being a technologically advanced and fully industrialized society.
At present, there seem to be two candidates who could partner with Russia and fulfill the Earth-Beast’s role on the End Time stage: China and the European Union (EU). Following are some points to consider:
1) The EU and Russia are natural partners: they are in close proximity and share a similar culture and heritage. A closer partnership almost happened a few years ago when Putin proposed a union with Europe to create a vast Eurasian alliance, stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostock. Although that plan has been shelved for the time being because of the turmoil in Ukraine, nevertheless, it shows that the idea exists in those upper circles of power and may yet be resuscitated at some future time. (See News Items.)
2) One aspect that Russia and the EU do not have in common is their government systems: the EU’s liberal democracy differs from Russia’s more authoritarian style of government. In recent news [2014-15] relations between the EU and Russia have soured considerably because of the situation in Ukraine.
3) This has also driven Russia to forge closer trade ties with China. Whether or not this political-economic situation will change, is difficult to gauge right now. Anyway, more on this love-hate relationship between the EU and Russia will be outlined further ahead in this study in the section “The Kingdom shall be Divided”.
4) As for the more distant American empire, it is hard to imagine how this nation, which has generally remained hostile to Russia in spite of communism’s collapse, could ever enter into a close partnership with her.
5) Now that the old barrier of communism has been removed, this may in the future clear the way for Russia to enter more into the European orb of democratic nations.
6) China, like the EU, has become a great commercial superpower in recent times. She has partnered closely with Russia to bring about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – a massive infrastructure project that seems destined to unite Eurasia into a powerful and prosperous economic bloc. BRI will also link European nations to China, thereby laying the groundwork for a vast empire stretching from western Europe to the Far East.
7) Could China and Russia be the two powers that will join forces to rule the world in its final days? Or will China play the role of outsider – a competitive threat that could prod Russia and the EU into joining forces in order to strengthen themselves against the up-and-coming Chinese rival?
8) Or on the other hand, will the EU continue to seek refuge with the American superpower?
9) That may happen. Or the opposite could happen. Will the EU start drifting into alliance with Russia? Now that Great Britain has left, this is becoming more of a possibility. America’s close ties to Britain enabled her to have more influence over EU policies, but in the future that influence will diminish. The EU may very well start tilting towards the organizations that are working to unite Eurasia, thereby distancing itself from the U.S. and keeping its own economy growing. This would, of course, require a major cultural change within the European Commission and in some member states which harbor hostility to Russia. But it could happen.
10) Or, could it be that all three powers – the European Union, Russia, and China – will join forces to rule the world of the near future? This study will continue on the assumption that this historical reality will indeed come to pass. If that assumption turns out to be misguided in any way, then, hopefully, this author will be flexible enough, by God’s grace, to make whatever changes in interpretation are needed.
In fact, this new “assumption” is actually a change from what was assumed previously in this Shape of the Future series – that Russia and the EU were the main players, and China was not in the picture at all. If China’s and Russia’s plans to unite Eurasia come to pass, then this new theory may hit the mark this time and reveal the future shape of geopolitical arrangement in the world.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. (1Corinthians 13:9-10)
Continue to 6: Physical Geography – Which Two Territories?
Although an alliance between the EU and Russia seems unlikely right now, it has been proposed before and is in the minds of leaders, as noted in the following news excerpts:
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would like to see a free trade agreement between the European Union and Russia. In a Thursday editorial for a German newspaper, he describes his vision of “a unified continental market with a capacity worth trillions of euros.”
No more tariffs. No more visas. Vastly more economic cooperation between Russia and the European Union. That’s the vision presented by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in an editorial contribution to the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Thursday.
“We propose the creation of a harmonious economic community stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok,” Putin writes. “In the future, we could even consider a free trade zone or even more advanced forms of economic integration. The result would be a unified continental market with a capacity worth trillions of euros.”
The proposal comes as Putin travels to Germany on Thursday for a two-day visit, including a Friday meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. On Wednesday, Russia and the EU reached an important agreement on the elimination of tariffs on raw materials such as wood. The deal was an important prerequisite for the EU dropping its opposition to Russian membership in the World Trade Organization.
Moscow is hoping to become a member in 2011.
Putin, though, as his Thursday proposal makes clear, envisions more. “The current state of cooperation between Russia and the EU is not consistent with the challenges that we face,” he writes. “To transform the situation, we need to take advantage of the advantages which already exist and the possibilities for progress in the EU and Russia.”
In addition to the establishment of closer economic ties between the EU and Russia, Putin also envisions close cooperation on industrial policy. “In my view, we need to address the question as to how we can trigger a new wave of industrialization across the European continent.” In particular, Putin mentions ship, automobile and airplane construction, space technology, pharmaceuticals and medical technology and nuclear energy.
Putin also proposes much closer collaboration when it comes to energy. “In recent years, cooperation on energy issues between Russia and the EU has attracted much attention and, to be honest, has been much too politicized.” He would like to see European and Russian firms working together “from exploration and exploitation of energy resources all the way to the delivery to consumers.”
“The renewed principles of our cooperation could be anchored in the partnership agreement between the EU and Russia, an accord which is currently under negotiation. We should approach this treaty from a strategic perspective. We should try to think 20, 30, even 50 years into the future.”
Two years later, similar ideas were proposed:
Russia and the EU have a lot to gain from cooperating. Our economies are strongly linked: 45 % of Russia’s exports go to the EU, while 35 % of Russia’s imports come from the EU. We are neighbours on our continent. More than 5 million Schengen visas were issued in 2011 in Russia. We may have different positions in some areas but we have more common interests. We must work together to guarantee security and stability on the European continent, to tackle global challenges and governance issues, and to promote economic growth.
We have had a positive and constructive working
summit. . .
Further progress has to be made in the negotiations towards a New Agreement, which can put our future relations on a solid legal basis. The EU is very eager to progress faster in these negotiations.
We have to continue our efforts to find a peaceful political solution on Syria in full support of Mr Brahimi’s efforts. . .
Russia and the EU work closely together in the Quartet, and we remain committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. . .
By working together, the EU and Russia can make a decisive contribution to global governance and regional conflict resolution, to global economic governance in the G 8 and G 20, and to a broad range of international and regional issues.
(21 December, 2012)
(Note: Because of recent events in Ukraine, Euro-Russian relations have suffered a major setback since the above statements were made. Will this scuttle Putin’s vision of future unification with the EU? Perhaps, but time often has a way of healing old wounds, especially in the fluid domain of politics where alliances often shift unexpectedly in response to the demands of nations’ self-interest.)
At any rate, in these statements, perhaps we are getting a glimpse, or mini-preview, into the future when Europe, while distancing itself from America, will forge ties with and work to strengthen the upcoming final empire – as pictured in Revelation 13, the Earth-Beast working to establish the rule and reign of the Sea-Beast, the Antichrist.
It should be kept in mind that in these beginning stages there are many worthwhile goals that the EU and Russia would like to achieve – tackling various world problems, which the present U.S.-dominated world order has proven itself incapable of solving. So at this stage this rise of new world powers should not be viewed in a sinister light; it is simply a matter of God allowing this merger of superpowers as a means of correcting the injustices that have accumulated over the years.
Of course, we know that, eventually as always, the forces of Darkness will hijack the process and try to harness it into serving their own destructive ends. We get a hint of this in Ezekiel 38 about the invasion of “Gog” from the “far north” into Israel and the Mid East: “On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan.” (38:10) But until then, the recent developments happening between China and Russia (and the EU and Russia) should be viewed as a welcome and needed re-balancing of power in the world.