Growing Wave of Anti-American Anger

Diplomats have valiantly tried to protect American interests in troubled areas. The anti-American attack in Libya shows the failure of these efforts.

The killing of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others in a vicious attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, highlights the failure of American diplomacy throughout the Middle East.

Impossible mission

The diplomats have been given an impossible mission in a hostile region. American diplomats have been thrown into war zones in the midst of rival rebel groups vying for power. Who is an enemy, and who is a friend? America has sought to use foreign aid as a major tool to buy new friends in this rapidly changing environment. But how strong are such friendships?

Even when the American offers are decidedly to the advantage of the other country, that doesn’t seem to ensure that the leaders will be thankful or loyal. And it certainly doesn’t sway the radical elements, who see America and its culture as a danger to their culture, and American presence as an affront to their Muslim faith.

Video provocation

What is the video that supposedly provoked the attack in Libya as well as the protests at American embassies in Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan and elsewhere?

The Wall Street Journal reported, “For more than two months, the ‘Muhammad Movie Trailer,’ an amateurish video assault on the founder of Islam, remained one of millions of obscure clips posted on YouTube.

“Today, fueled by the Internet and the roiling stew of the Arab Spring, the 14-minute video has been blamed for helping to spur attacks on U.S. diplomats and missions in Egypt and Libya, sparking … a crisis that has ricocheted around the world” (“Mystery Deepens Over Anti-Islamic Video,” Sept. 13, 2012).

Beyond the mystery of who is behind the video and why it has surfaced now is the mystery of human nature that leads to attacks on peaceful diplomats who would denounce the message and methods of the video provocateurs. Just being associated with the country in which the video was made somehow makes the diplomats symbolic targets.

Given the United States’ commitment to free speech and religious fervor being stirred up around the Middle East, such incidents are sure to continue and escalate.

Dealing with enemies

Human governments have tried everything, it seems, in dealing with their enemies. The great powers of history have often used overwhelming force to defeat their enemies—for a time. Too often in the cycle of history those brutal victories spawn future revolts as the great powers wane.

Other nations have tried appeasement or buying off their enemies. The Bible is full of stories of nations paying huge sums to buy peace or buy allies. These arrangements never seemed to last either. God even accused His people of spiritual prostitution for going after other nations and bowing to their influence rather than turning to Him (Hosea 7:11; 8:9). (For more on this, see our blog post “Can Military Aid Really Buy Friends and Lasting Peace?”)

Turning to God is truly the only way to find real peace and protection in this increasingly dangerous world. Even if our nations do not turn to God, we can personally seek Him and His protection (Psalms 31:14-16; 44:6-7).

The end of enemies

Today we see many well-meaning leaders trying everything they can think of to promote peace in some of the world’s troubled hot spots, especially in the Middle East. Some have even believed that the Arab Spring was opening up the prospects for future peace in the region. But such cries of “peace, peace” have always been followed by the reality that “there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14). Humanity does not know the way to peace (Romans 3:17).

The good news is that there is peace, ensured by the greatest power in the universe, on the way. Jesus Christ promised to intervene in world affairs in the midst of the worst time of trouble the world has ever seen (Matthew 24:21-22). It seems the battle lines are being set for the cataclysmic end-time battles that will bring humanity to the brink of mutually assured destruction.

Then Jesus Christ will return, destroying the armies that will attempt to stand against Him and bringing the way of real peace to those who recognize their sins and turn to Him.

Isaiah describes the wonderful Kingdom of God that Jesus Christ will then rule over:

“Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

“He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:3-4).

This time of peace is pictured every year by the celebration of God’s Feast of Tabernacles. Learn more about this biblical festival in our article “The Feast of Tabernacles: A Bountiful Harvest.”

About the Author

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett is editorial content manager for the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, in the Dallas, Texas, area. He coordinates the Life, Hope & Truth website, Discern magazine, the Daily Bible Verse Blog and the Life, Hope & Truth Weekly Newsletter (including World Watch Weekly). He is also part of the Personal Correspondence team of ministers who have the privilege of answering questions sent to Life, Hope & Truth.

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