Ever since I was in college, due to oil and the presence of Israel, the Mideast has played an important role in the peace and prosperity of the rest of the world. Two major wars involving multiple Western nations have been fought in the Mideast in the last twenty-five years. In addition, the region has been scarred with numerous civil wars and with a seemingly unending parade of terrorists’ acts.
However, I believe we are in a time where the radical forces in the Mideast are an even more serious threat to world peace and prosperity. Their escalating actions make them significantly more perilous than ever before.
Ironically, the threat of radical terrorism is increasing at the same time that the power of the OPEC nations to influence oil prices and oil supplies continues to decline. Unfortunately, the threats of the new powers in the Mideast are more difficult to deal with because of several factors:
- These forces are truly evil.
- These forces do not want to enjoy western lifestyle and wealth like the oil barons of the Mideast have since the 1970s
- These forces paint the US and its allies as their enemy. They are dedicated to destroying the Western world as well as anyone else who does not accept that their evil worldview is superior.
The seriousness of the current situation in the Mideast was brought fervently to me while listening to a family from Lebanon being interviewed by our pastor at church on Sunday. This family has been in the US for the last year while the husband completed his doctorate. As they prepare to return to Lebanon, he shared about the situation in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Mideast.
Lebanon’s southern border adjoins Israel. Its border to the east and north is Syria. ISIS occupies the mountains between southwestern Syria and eastern Lebanon. The armies of Syria and the armies of Lebanon are fighting the radicals in the mountains with the help of the US.
Lebanon, a country of about 4.5 million in normal times, has been inundated with about 1.5 million refugees from Syria. These refugees are fleeing radical Islamists and are being taken care of by moderate Muslims and the Christians of Lebanon. Ironically, they are fleeing Syria because they feel safer with non-Muslims than with the radical Muslims in Syria, those who kill anyone who does not agree completely with their radical evil beliefs.
This family is moving back to Lebanon in order for the husband to run a Bible college. He shared that members of their family are considering leaving Lebanon. They would be doing this after staying during years of civil war and through skirmishes with Israel. They are exploring leaving their homeland due to the evil of ISIS and the probability of severe persecution and death if ISIS defeats the Lebanon army.
This professor also noted that his sister and her husband, who live in Saudi Arabia, were taking a trip to Europe as the first step of possibly leaving Saudi Arabia. After many years of relative peace, the radical groups in Saudi Arabia are causing many to question how long the wealthy minority government of that nation can continue to rule and control the country.
Yemen, which is on the southwestern border of Saudi Arabia, is now mostly controlled by ISIS affiliates. It is one of the most dangerous places in the world. Many of the remote areas of Yemen house training camps where misled young people – from the Mideast, as well as Europe and the US – are trained to be lethal terrorists as they are brainwashed to believe that dying for Allah is the highest calling.
The third radical center of influence in the Mideast is the country of Iran. US policies for the past several years have been focused on stopping Iran from completing development of a nuclear bomb. Recent negotiations by the Obama administration are designed to continue to delay Iran’s progress on the bomb. Critics of the negotiations believe that the concessions made will make it easier for Iran to complete the bomb.
Quite frankly, since neither side of this debate seem to be good at telling the truth without embellishment, it is difficult for me to determine if the recent agreements are a good or a bad thing. What I do know is that the government of Iran is evil and has sworn to destroy Israel and the US. Any policy of our country that is based on thinking Iran has good intentions is foolish. At the end of the day, the government of Iran is no less rational or less dangerous than the ISIS elements in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
In summary, these three radical groups in the Mideast are committed to destroying Western civilization. They want to return the world to a modern version of barbaric medieval times. In their evil world view, modern civilization has no good in it. They want to bring about a world where blind or coerced belief in an inhumane and evil set of beliefs is the desired outcome for the entire world.
Meanwhile, much like the governments of Europe in the late 1930s, most of the world, and many of the leaders in our country, fail to recognize Mideast evil for what it is. As a result, the people and armies fighting these evil forces do not receive the type of support that they need to win their battle.
What does all of this mean to those of us who live in the US? It means that there is a very real and growing threat to the economic prosperity of the US. Ultimately, if these evil forces are allowed to continue to grow their influence, their acts of war will find the shores of the US once again.
As these threats grow, it is good to have a contingency plan for your business and your personal assets. This means that you have thought out in advance what you would do if war broke out in the Mideast, or oil production was disrupted, or if we had another major terrorist event in the US.
Specifically, for your business, you should have a plan that you are ready to implement quickly should there be an event that suddenly disrupts the economy. Think about what happened to your business after September 11, 2001. While the economy recovered, it took several months for business to return to normal. You need to be prepared to act quickly to survive this scenario if it happens again, potentially on a larger scale.
Similarly, think about actions that you would take with regard to your investments, including IRAs and 401ks. As the stock market continues to creep higher in the “No Alternatives” market, consider periodically taking some profits. And, more importantly, have a plan to reduce stock market exposure in several quick steps if the market embarks on a major decline triggered by a terrorist or war event.
If you need help on developing a plan for either your business or your personal wealth, feel free to contact me for help.