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This week on 'The Hal Lindsey Report'
Last week, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly condemned Syria for its bloody assault on its citizens. A handful of nations, including Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea opposed the resolution. More than 130 nations expressed their disgust and even called on Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step down.
A General Assembly resolution is not legally binding, but it put the body on record as condemning Syria's actions. In the Security Council, though, whose decisions can carry the weight of international law, Syria's patrons, Russia and China, vetoed an attempt to impose international sanctions against Assad's regime last fall.
This week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon criticized Syria's government and confirmed the UN's estimates that more than 5,400 people have been killed, thousands are missing, 25,000 have fled the country, and more than 70,000 have been internally displaced.
But what has many observers worried now are rumors that Assad is stockpiling chemical weapons in various parts of the country. Not long ago, Turkey intercepted several Iranian trucks headed for Syria. They were hauling components for ballistic missiles and tons of ingredients for chemical weapons. A Turkish daily newspaper has also reported that Russia recently sent more than 3 million gas masks to Syria for use by its security forces.
Some analysts believe Assad may be preparing to use chemical weapons against his own citizens if the uprising continues. Others think he is preparing a defense against foreign military forces sent to intervene in the government's onslaught. Top-ranking officials of the Israeli Defence Forces believe Syria has the world's largest arsenal of chemical weapons. They are preparing plans and practicing their response in case Assad decides to use those weapons against Israel as a diversion.
The question on the minds of many people is, "Would Bashar al Assad actually start a regional war to hold on to power?" I think the answer is most definitely, "Yes." In fact, the prophet Isaiah predicts it. He even predicts the outcome in chapter 17 of his book. Maybe not now, but someday. And maybe sooner rather than later.
Last Monday, I heard a business analyst being interviewed on a popular television news network. In discussing the recent alarming rise in gasoline prices, he made this statement to the viewers: "Go buy gas for your car today. It will be more expensive tomorrow."
Boy, he was right on. Where I live, gasoline has risen 16 cents per gallon since he voiced that warning.
By early February, the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded was $3.56. That's not the highest it's ever been, but gasoline prices have never been this high this early in the season. It's interesting, too, that demand for gasoline is also at record levels -- record LOWS and falling! According to MasterCard, demand fell by 3.1% in recent days and is 5% below last year. And even though Europe has had a brutal winter, this has been a rather mild one for the US. Yet, heating fuel prices have not fallen despite the fact that Americans used far less heating oil than expected this year.
Some observers credit the fact that Saudi Arabia has cut production by more than 250,000 barrels per day. Also, Iran decided to punish Europe for threatening to impose fuel sanctions. The Iranians announced they will stop sending more than 300,000 barrels per day to France, England, and Germany.
So, there seems to be no easy answer to the most popular question these days, "Why?" Why are fuel prices rising when demand is falling?
And, it appears the Obama administration is not going to take advantage of a golden opportunity to drive those prices down, put tens of thousands to work, and decrease our dependence on Arab oil.
Canada has more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia. Because of new technologies not available just a few years ago, Canada has been able to begin successfully recovering that crude oil. The Canadians announced that they wanted to sell that oil to their neighbors to the south. That's us! So the private sector got busy and in 2005 began developing and building a pipeline that would move Canadian crude from northeastern Alberta province to refineries throughout the Midwest and on down to the Gulf Coast states.
Talk about a bonanza! The mammoth pipeline project is privately funded. No government stimulus funds needed. It will employ tens of thousands in construction-related jobs and maybe hundreds of thousands in related industries as the project grows and the oil is finally pumping. And there's so much oil available, it will help make us less dependent on Arab oil. And it will help drive down the refined prices because, currently, Saudi oil is selling for $105 a barrel while Canadian oil is going for $33 per barrel. Some analysts speculate that within a few years, by combining our reserves with Canada's, America could become a net oil exporter. We could sell oil to fuel-hungry China and maybe get some of our money back!
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Wrong! Remember, we are now living in a "progressive" society. There's no such thing as a "no-brainer" anymore. You see, our President is either so ideologically bound or so financially beholden to the environmentalist lobby that he feels obligated to do its bidding. So, on January 18, President Obama announced he was rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline project.
You see, he first tried to "postpone" his final decision until 2013 so he wouldn't have to antagonize the environmentalists going into the 2012 general elections. Congress would have none of that, though. So they passed legislation requiring him to make a decision within 60 days or formally reject the project.
Then, President Obama complained that his government didn't have time to do an effective environmental survey. That excuse brazenly ignored the fact that his own State Department had already issued an environmental impact study in 2010 that gave the project the environmental "green light." So, the so-called "smartest President" in American history caved to the far Left and said "no" to a "no-brainer." Even many in his own party are outraged.
Canada had already declared that they intended to sell the oil. If not to their closest neighbors (that's us), then to someone else. It is now late February and the Canadians have already begun signing agreements with the Chinese to build the pipeline to Canada's west coast and begin shipping the crude to China.
Unfortunately, I suppose President Obama is keeping his campaign promise to "fundamentally change America." And if America has been, as President Ronald Reagan famously declared, "A city shining on a hill," to fundamentally change that means dimming the lights of the city.
It grieves me to see this happening to our beloved nation. But, I must confess, it doesn't surprise me. I find no role in the Scriptures' prophetic scenario for a nation that resembles the United States. That does not necessarily mean that our country will no longer exist, but I firmly believe it means that it will no longer be a superpower. It will no longer be the "last best hope for a dying world." It will no longer be that "city shining on a hill."
I miss America already.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: "The Hal Lindsey Report" will not be seen on Inspiration Network this week. It's "Spring Campeeting" time!
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