CGG Weekly, September 6, 2002

"The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
Ann Landers

Perhaps the most certain and lasting consensus decision to come out of the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg is that America and Britain are officially to blame for every ill that plagues planet earth.

Speaker after speaker, mostly leaders of nations, made statements similar to Kofi Annan's opening salvo, "They [rich nations; read: the U.S.] have the wealth. They have the technology. And they contribute disproportionately to global environmental problems." South African president Thabo Mbeki demanded an end to "global apartheid": "This is a world in which a rich minority enjoys unprecedented levels of consumption, comfort and prosperity. While a poor majority enjoys daily hardship, suffering and de-humanization."

Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, pointed out Britain and British Prime Minister Tony Blair specifically:

Sustainable development is not possible without agrarian reforms that acknowledge that land comes first before all else and that all else grows from the land. In our situation, this fundamental has pitted the black majority against an obdurate and internationally well-connected racial minority, largely of British descent, brought in and sustained by British colonialism, now being supported and manipulated by the Blair government.

This was seconded by Namibia's president, Sam Nujoma, later that evening: "Here in southern Africa we have one problem, and it was created by the British. The Honorable Tony Blair is here, and they created the situation in Zimbabwe."

From environmental problems to genetically-modified foods to disease to cultural ills to starvation, all is the West's fault, particularly the two leading nations' fault: Great Britain, the Empire on which the sun never set, which civilized many of these cry-baby nations; and the United States, the present economic and military colossus, whose young men saved many of these countries from domination by Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union and which has made possible many of the advances they enjoy.

Jacob prophesies of these same two nations in Genesis 48:8-20 as the two leading nations of modern Israel. The patriarch says to Joseph: "He [Manasseh] also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations" (verse 19). The United States fits the description of Manasseh, and his brother nation, Great Britain—along with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa—descend from Ephraim.

The church has often used the prophecies of Genesis 49 as proofs of the present-day whereabouts of the "lost" tribes of Israel. Having identified the sons of Joseph as the English-speaking nations, it is intriguing to see what God says about them beyond the fact that they would be prosperous, productive, exploring, colonizing peoples (verse 22). Notice verse 23 particularly: "The archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him." The imagery is of hateful yet cowardly enemies attacking Joseph from the safety of distance, repeatedly shooting darts that provoke, harass, and irritate.

This sounds very much like what is happening today. A few ungrateful, greedy, and envious leaders of nations are sniping at the U.S. and Britain, screaming that their prosperity and hegemony are not fair, and demanding that the only solution is for these rich nations to share their wealth and concede their power. Forgotten are the billions of dollars in aid; the millions of tons of food, clothing, and medicine; the millions of man-hours spent in consulting, designing, and building infrastructure for modern utilities, education, government, military, commerce, agriculture, industry, communications, and transportation. Forgotten, too, are America's and Britain's records of being the first nations to give aid or manpower in time of need.

Because of human nature, this whining of the have-nots is only to be expected, yet it is still unsettling. The king of the hill can never rest easy because someone else is always trying to push him off. However, we should keep this hostility in mind as the end approaches, for Psalm 83:3-4 says: "They have taken crafty counsel against Your people. . . . They have said, 'Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.'" Expect the blaming and recriminations to continue—and escalate.